Dangerous fire conditions persist across much of the state
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A surge of new wind-driven wildfires in Texas may have destroyed up to 700 homes in just two days during the Labor Day weekend, the Texas Forest Service said in its daily update.
There is still conflicting information about deaths resulting from the Bastrop Fire, with two reported fatalities and two additional deaths possible. A special 100-member search team has been deployed to search burned homes in the Bastrop area.
Strong winds on the west side of Tropical Storm Lee re-ignited earlier fires and quickly fanned new blazes into nearly uncontrollable infernos, including a monster fire in Bastrop County, near Austin, that’s grown to 30,000 acres. Firefighters still haven’t been able to contain the Bastrop Fire despite repeated attacks by air tankers. Numerous neighborhoods have been evacuated as firefighters focus on protecting homes in the area.
On Monday (Sept. 5) the Texas Forest Service responded to 22 new fires burning across 7,544 acres, including 10 new large fires. In the past week, the agency has responded to 181 fires burning on 118,413 acres, according to the daily Inciweb summary of the Texas wildfires.
Among the 10 new fires reported Sept. 5, the largest is the Riley Road Fire, at 3,000 acres. It has destroyed 20 homes, with at least 150 more facing an immediate threat as the fire moves south.
Since Jan. 1, fires in Texas have burned across 3.5 million acres and have destroyed more than 1,000 homes, according to Inciweb.
The weather forecast for the next few days is for more of the same, with warm temperatures and dry and windy skies.
Other new fires include:
TAMINA ROAD, Montgomery County. 150 acres, unknown containment. Two hundred homes have been evacuated in and near the Woodlands and an additional 400 are within a one-fourth of a mile of the fire.
UNION CHAPEL, Bastrop County. 750 acres, 10 percent contained. Twenty-five homes were destroyed on this fire just west of Bastrop. Aircraft responded immediately after the fire was reported, but were ineffective in the windy conditions.
MOONGLOW, Williamson County. 300 acres, no containment. This fire is burning in Leander where 150 homes were threatened. Thirteen homes are reported lost.
PETERS CHAPEL, Harrison County. 600 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning actively in pine plantation. Numerous homes have been evacuated. There are no reports of losses.
#552, Upshur County. 200 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in timber. Three homes were lost and dozens remain threatened.
#854, Walker County. 200 acres, unknown containment. Thirty homes have been evacuated, five homes were destroyed.
#507, Anderson County. 1,200 acres, unknown containment.
#505 Rusk County. 400 acres, unknown containment.
#504, Anderson County. 800 acres, unknown containment.