SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with causing several deaths and burning thousands of homes, the latest round of wildfires in east Texas has destroyed almost $100 million worth of timber, resulting in economic costs far beyond the immediate cost of fighting fires and the value of the destroyed homes, the Texas Forest Service reported this week.
“Along with the heavy toll on people and property, these fires have significantly damaged the forestland — and the forest sector as a whole — in East Texas,” said Chris Edgar, a forest resource analyst with Texas Forest Service. “It’s a tremendous loss for the East Texas timber industry.”
Large fires burning in Minnesota, Idaho, Montana and Texas
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Several large new fires burning California, Idaho and Minnesota have pushed the total acreage during this year’s wildfire season to 7.7 million acres nationwide, about 1.5 million acres above the 10-year average and close to the record season of 2006, when 8.8 million acres had burned by this time of year.
By comparison, last year’s total at this point in the fire season was 2.7 million acres; in 2009, it was 5.5 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Currently, large fires are burning in eight states: California (3), Idaho (11), Minnesota (1), Montana (8), Oklahoma (3), Oregon (6), Texas (11) and Washington (2). Visit Inciweb for updates on all fires burning currently.
The biggest single fire in the country is burning on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, where the Pagami Creek Fire has burned across a footprint of about 94,000 acres since it started about a month ago. The fire was started by lightning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, about 14 miles east of Ely. It’s about 11 percent contained with 565 firefighters on scene.
Parts of the Boundary Waters area remains closed and officials are focusing on protecting structures and developing evacuation procedures on the fire’s southeastern boundary.
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. Continue reading “Texas wildfires: Almost 2,000 homes burned since Labor Day”→
Firefighters in Texas still facing dangerous fire conditions statewide
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Texas officials completed a comprehensive assessment of the Bastrop Fire complex and said Thursday that a total of 1,386 homes were destroyed by the fire that raged through the area during Labor Day weekend.
Texas fires claimed more than 1,000 homes in past three days
SUMMIT COUNTY — The 33,000-acre Bastrop Fire, one of the most destructive of the recent Texas wildfires, is now 30 percent contained, according to the Texas Forest Service, but the fire is still threatening a powerplant, as well as historic cabins in Bastrop State Park.
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.
High winds continue to drive flames across east Texas
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Texas Forest Service reported 63 new fires Sept. 4 including a monster 17,000 acre blaze that destroyed 300 homes in Bastrop County, where another 1,000 homes are threatened. Authorities said a fire in Gregg County, in northeast Texas, killed two people.
Sunday’s wildfires have burned across 33,000 acres. Strong winds on the west side of Tropical Storm Lee caused the fires to spread rapidly in fuels left bone-dry by months of extreme drought. The forecast weather in the area includes highs in the upper 90s, winds of near 30 mph and a relative humidity of 18 percent.