Texas
11:25 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Texas Forest Service Provides Update On West Texas Wildfires

Here's the latest information from the Texas Forest Service as it struggles to contain wildfires that have already blackened 309,500 acres. This report was circulated to media this morning. We present it to you in its entirety.

TEXAS FOREST SERVICE INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT
Monday, April 11, 2011
National Preparedness Level: 1
Southern Area Preparedness Level: 3
TFS Preparedness Level: 5

CURRENT SITUATION

Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 12 fires for 22,432 acres, including new large fires in Brewster and Angelina counties.  In the past seven days TFS has responded to 83 fires for 309,526 acres. 

A Type I incident management team from the Southern Area is being briefing by TFS fire managers this morning and will assume command of the fire in the West Branch.  This will include the Rockhouse, Hickman, a new 20,000-acre fire near Alpine, and several smaller fires in the area, including new starts reported this morning due to lightning.  Ten 20-person hand crews are in route to assist the team, as well as additional engines and aircraft.

New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels)

UN-NAMED, Brewster County.  20,000 acres, no containment.  The fire is burning east of Alpine.  No additional information was received.

DUNAGAN, Angelina County.  The fire is burning in pine plantation seven miles east of Lufkin.  Eleven homes were saved, none lost.

Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels)

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties.  80,000 acres, 10 percent contained.  The fire started Saturday near Marfa and burned rapidly north to Ft. Davis.  Numerous homes were destroyed as the fire moved through Ft. Davis and into the mountains toward Balmorhea.  Damage assessments are ongoing to determine the number of homes destroyed.  The initial report indicates 20-40 lost.  Eight TIFMAS Type 1 engines and four tenders are assisting with the fire.

SWENSON, Stonewall, King, and Knox counties.  71,000 acres, 25 percent contained.  The fire is burning near in rough terrain and heavy fuels three miles north of Swenson.  Depending on wind speed and direction, the town of Benjamin in Knox County could be threatened.  Five TIFMAS strike teams of engines and numerous TXDOT graders and dozers are assisting TFS.  The fire will be mapped by aircraft this morning to determine current acreage.

HICKMAN, Midland County.  16,500 acres, 95 percent contained.  Thirty-four homes were reported destroyed on this fire burning on the south side of Midland.

KILLOUGH, Garza County.  40,000 acres, 50 percent contained.  60 homes were saved and one destroyed on this fire six miles south of Post.  The fire made a significant run yesterday and is currently threatening an additional 150 homes near White River Lake.  Heavy airtankers were used to slow the spread of the fire late yesterday.

HOHERTZ, Eastland and Stephens counties.  2,100 acres, 75 percent contained.  The fire is burning 20 miles southeast of Breckenridge.  Thirty homes were saved.  The National Guard Blackhawk helicopters from Austin assisted.

CRAWFORD RANCH, Moore and Potter counties.  60,000 acres, 80 percent contained.  The fire is burning in tall grass near Masterson.

CAMP BOWIE FIRE, Brown County.   3,355 acres, 95 percent contained.  The fire is burning on the Camp Bowie Military Reservation south of Brownwood.  Fire activity is minimal within the perimeter and little growth is expected.

SANDERSON, Terrell County.  3,595 acres, 95 percent contained.  The fire is approximately 50 miles southeast of Ft. Stockton. 

COTTON RANCH, Tom Green and Sterling counties. The fire is burning between Sterling and San Angelo.

WEATHER OUTLOOK

West Zone:  A cold front will extend across south branch early, but will move east of the area by this afternoon. The winds will increase out of the north behind the front early this afternoon and this will create elevated to critical fire weather conditions mainly over south branch. High pressure will be centered over the panhandle this morning and will shift east into Oklahoma by later this afternoon. The winds will be out

of the Northwest to North across most of the area with the strongest winds over south branch at 15 to 20 mph with gusts from 25 to 30 mph. Sustained winds at 10-15 mph with gusts to 20 mph will generally be the rule over the remainder of the branches, except for the far west portions of west branch were the winds will be more north to northeasterly at 10 mph. Temperatures will range from the upper 60s in the far northern portions of the panhandle to the 70s across the remainder of northwest and west branch to the 90s in south branch.

East Zone:  A cold front moving across the branch early today will kick off morning showers and thunderstorms, but high pressure will build across the branch by this afternoon ending the chance of rain. High temperatures will be in the mid to upper 70s, with low 80s over the southern portions of the branch. Afternoon relative humidity values will range from 20-30 % in the western portions of the branch to 35-40 % in the eastern portions and along the coast.