Weather may bring some relief to parts of the drought-stricken state
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Texas Forest Service officials said Tuesday that, by their latest count, almost 2,000 homes have been destroyed by wildfires since Labor Day weekend in central and east Texas. In the past week, the agency has responded to a total of 127 fires burning on about 9,000 acres.
Since the holiday weekend, aircraft have flown for more than 1,800 hours and dropped more than 5.5 million gallons of water and retardant. Six heavy airtankers, three water scoopers, 15 single-engine airtankers, four C-130 MAFFS airtankers, 13 helicopters and 17 air attack aircraft and lead planes are being utilized. Eleven Texas Army National Guard Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters from San Antonio, Austin and Grand Prairie have been crucial in the fight as well.
The latest drought monitor shows 95 percent of the state in extreme drought, with 81 percent in exceptional drought . Seasonal outlooks continue to indicate drying throughout the fall, so the drought is expected to worsen.
Parts of the state may see some relief from hot temperatures in the next few days as a cold front reaches the northern panhandle, but other parts of the state will experience continued hot weather, with highs between 95 and 105 degrees across most regions outside the panhandle. The cold front could generate a few showers across the panhandle and potentially a bit of rain in the west and northwestern sections of the Texas. Cooler temperatures and higher relative humidities behind the front will help firefighters in some areas, at least in the short term.
BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 34,068 acres, 60 percent contained. The 719-acre Union Chapel Fire is now included in this complex and is being managed by the Southern Area Type I Incident Management Team. Crews and equipment continue to protect homes within the perimeter. There is no fire burning outside the main containment lines. An assessment team has confirmed 1,554 homes have been destroyed on the large Bastrop fire and the Union Chapel Fire. Two civilians were found dead Tuesday as search crews went through the charred subdivisions.
BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 40,548 acres, 80 percent contained. Sixty-six homes have been destroyed just southeast of Linden. A Type 1 Incident Management Team is assisting with management of the fire.
RILEY ROAD, Grimes/Montgomery/Waller counties. 18,946 acres, 75 percent contained. The California Type I Incident Management Team will transition the fire to a Type 3 organization later today, but will continue to provide oversight for that fire and new fires in Southeast Texas.
DOTSON, Cherokee County. 1,900 acres, contained. The fire is burning 3 miles west of Alto in timber.
#262, Harrison County. 800 acres, 85 percent contained. This fire is under investigation to determine if it is a new start or a carryover from the #262 fire in July. Heavy airtankers, four MAFFS C-130’s and the DC-10 dropped retardant on this fire yesterday.
MARSHALL, Harrison County. 800 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning actively in timber. Heavy airtankers, C-130’s, scoopers and helicopters assisted. Evacuations occurred but no homes were lost.
#548 (was #543), Rusk County. 380 acres, contained. The fire is burning in grass and timber.
DIANA (#545), Upshur County. 809 acres, 75 percent contained. The fire is burning in grass and timber. Twenty homes are threatened. There was a catchout yesterday.
BOOT WALKER (#553), Marion County. 1,047 acres, 80 percent contained. A wind shift to the south could threaten 30 homes. Access to the fire is limited.
OLD MAGNOLIA/MOORE, Gregg County. 4,909 acres, 80 percent contained. Several structures and a gas plant are threatened. The fire is burning in pine plantation.
101 RANCH, Palo Pinto County. 6,555 acres, 85 percent contained. Crews and aircraft continue to monitor the fire. Thirty-nine homes and nine RVs have been reported destroyed. Crews continue to mop up and aircraft are monitoring.
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, forest fires, forests Tagged: | Bastrop fire, Texas fires, Texas Forest Service, Texas weather, Texas wildfire damage, Texas wildfire map, Texas wildfires