Crews Winning Wildfire Battles But Dry Winds Bearing Down
No new large wildfires were reported yesterday, but the weather is worsening for crews combating four major blazes that cover more than 500,000 acres. Here is the latest update from the Texas Forest Service.
Critical fire weather is forecast for Texas for today. A dry line will push its way nearly to the Fort Worth area and will bring with it low relative humidity and gusting winds as high as 50 mph today and tomorrow in the western half of the state. Recent response: · No large fires were reported Sunday. · The Springer Fire in Hall County and the Childress Fire in Crockett County were contained on Sunday. · 209 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans (view map). · We’re currently working on four major fires that cover more than half a million acres. Uncontained fires from previous days: PK COMPLEX, Stephens and Palo Pinto Counties. 126,734 acres, 69 percent contained. The acreage decrease is due to more accurate GPS mapping. 167 homes and 2 churches have been destroyed on this complex of four fires burning near Possum Kingdom Lake, Caddo, Strawn and Bunger, which have all had evacuations. Lower winds and higher humidity have helped firefighters gain the upper hand, although scattered hot spots and smoldering continue on the interior. Texas Forest Service task forces, Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) resources, three helitankers, and three Type III helicopters are assisting on the fire. WILDCAT, Coke County. 159,308 acres, 80 percent contained. This fire is burning in tall grass north of San Angelo. More than 400 homes have been saved. The communities of Grape Creek, Quail Valley, Bronte, Robert Lee, Tennyson and Orient were threatened, but all evacuation orders have been lifted. The DC-10 heavy airtanker assisted on the fire Wednesday and was instrumental in stopping the spread of the fire to the east. ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties. 215,275 acres, 75 percent contained. 23 homes and two commercial structures were destroyed in the Fort Davis area in the initial burning period. The Buffalo Trail Boy Scout Ranch remains threatened. Approximately 300 firefighters continue to work the fire burning in heavy brush and pinyon-juniper. Difficult terrain is causing control problems on the west side of the fire. Crews continue to conduct burnout operations. A base camp for hundreds of firefighters has been set up at the Fort Davis State Park. PIPELINE, Tyler County. 7,100 acres, 90 percent contained. Forty homes were threatened by this fire which is burning in pine plantation 10 miles northeast of Kountze. Two Type 2 hand crews continue to mop up interior smokes. Prevention messages: · Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas. · Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark. · To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850. If possible, safely obtain an accurate description of the person and/or vehicle (including the license number) before calling the hotline. · Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires. Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.