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Texas Tragedy

Apr 12, 2011

Wild fires continue to burn in Texas today. A total of 640 fires have destroyed 400 square miles of rolling plains in West Texas. This is one of the worst fire seasons the Lonestar state has ever seen. For comparison, last year only 167 wildfires burned total. Monday, the National Weather Service issued "red flag warnings" in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. This means that they believe these states are exhibiting "critical fire weather conditions."
 
Huffington Post
Photo via Huffington Post
 
The majority of the area afected by the blazes is ranching country. Accoring to a the local Lubbock News station (KCBD) firefighters are traveling from 25 states across the country to help cattleman save their pastures. Statewide, more than a quartner million acres and at least 80 homes, the majority of them ranch homes, have burned in recent days according to KCBD.
The Texas Forest Service reported the following summary of area fires.
 
  • ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties. 108,000 acres, 10 percent contained. The fire started Saturday near Marfa and burned rapidly north to Fort Davis. Twenty-three homes and two businesses were reported as destroyed in the Ft. Davis area. A Type I incident command team will assume command of the fire this morning. Eight TIFMAS Type 1 engines and four tenders are assisting with the fire, as well as numerous air tankers and helicopters.A base camp for hundreds of firefighters has been set up at the Fort Davis State Park. The acreage increase was due to more accurate mapping from a satellite burn scar.


  • ROPER, Brewster County. 25,000 acres, no containment. The fire is burning east of Alpine. No additional information was received.

  • CANNON, Pecos County. 750 acres, unknown containment. This complex of four fires is burning just south of Iraan.

  • ENCINO, Tom Green County. 11,000 acres, 20 percent contained. Heavy air tankers and numerous ground resources assisted on this rapid-moving grass and brush fire 13 miles west of San Angelo. Dozens of homes were threatened but none lost.

 

This is certainly a tragedy and cattlemen will suffer from the loss of land and grass, not to mention the loss of homes and infrastructure.  In the bigger picture, encouraging news is that as a range management is concerned the burned land will grow higher quality forages years from now. It is hard to be encouraged by such tragic loss; our thoughts go out to the ranching community and families affected by this major disaster.

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