Wildfire Update – Sept. 14, 2011
• Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 35 new fires for 9,752 acres including new large fires in Harris and Trinity counties.
• In the past seven days, Texas Forest Service has responded to 149 fires for 17,334 acres.
• The Leigh Community (#262) Fire in Harrison County was contained Wednesday at 518 acres.
• Assessment crews continue to survey the damage of numerous fires that occurred across Central and East Texas during the past week. It is currently estimated that 1,939 homes have been destroyed since Labor Day weekend.
• 250 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.
• Daily detailed fire information can be found here or at inciweb.org.
New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels; or where homes were lost):
RHONESBORO (#593), Upshur County. 350 acres, unknown containment. Twelve homes and 2 outbuildings destroyed and another 15 homes threatened. This fire is burning approximately 11 miles west of Gilmer.
(#592), Marion County. 300 acres, unknown containment. This fire is burning approximately eight miles north of Uncertain.
TRUCK FLIP (#899), Trinity County. 1,200 acres, 95 percent contained. Six homes were threatened and saved. This fire is burning 11 miles east of Trinity.
THIRD (#898), Walker County. 480 acres, 75 percent contained. Seven structures are threatened. This fire is located 15 miles west of Huntsville.
MANTON (HAT ON ROAD), Clay and Montague counties. 4,900 acres, 50 percent containment.
UNION GROVE, Bell County. 500 acres, 50 percent contained. This fire is burning 7 miles southeast of Killeen.
GEORGE BUSH PARK (#900), Harris County. 1,500 acres, 20 percent contained. A type one helicopter, air attack and ground resources responded. This fire is burning on the outskirts of Houston.
Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):
BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 34,068 acres, 70 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.
BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 41,169 acres, 85 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, 95 percent contained. The California Type I Incident Management Team will transition the fire to a Type 3 organization today, but will continue to provide oversight for that fire and new fires in Southeast Texas.
MARSHALL (#574), Harrison County. 1,465 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.
DIANA (#545), Upshur County. 2,324 acres, 75 percent contained. The fire is burning in grass and timber. Twenty homes are threatened. There was a catch out 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, 90 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, 95 percent contained. Crews and aircraft continue to monitor the fire. Thirty-nine homes and nine RV's have been reported destroyed. Crews continue to mop up and aircraft are monitoring.
Central and West Branches
A cold front will continue to drop south into the state today, making a bit quicker progress south over the Northwest and West Branches than locations further to the east. The front should reach just south of Lubbock, to north of Abilene to the north side of the Metroplex by around dark. The cold front and passing upper level disturbances, as well as a surface wave moving along it, will bring good rain chances and some wetting rains to the panhandle (or northwest two thirds of the Northwest Branches) today and tonight. Ahead of the front, southerly to southwesterly winds are expected. As the front moves by, winds will shift to the east-southeast or east and then northeasterly to north. Improved humidity and cooler temperatures are expected after the front passes a location. Rain chances, generally 20 to 40 percent, will spread south tonight through Friday into the remainder of the Northwest, West and North Branches. Overall, rain chances will generally decrease rapidly south of Interstate 20. Rain chances will remain very low over the South, southern part of Central Branch and South Central Branch. Cooler temperatures and improved humidity levels are expected behind the front, however, areas closer to I-10 will still remain warm.
A low pressure system moving east through Oklahoma followed by a cold front will bring another round of southerly flow to the East Branch. The cold front should move across the Red River early this afternoon and then slow as it nears a Marshall-to-Tyler line by mid-evening. A few light showers may be possible along the Red River after sunrise. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop to the west and move west to east through the area from the Red River and north of the Interstate 20 corridor between 1200-2000. Rainfall accumulations should range up to 0.25". Skies will be mostly cloudy north and partly cloudy south. Dry conditions will redevelop again after 0900 and some areas may again set record high temperatures today. Afternoon highs will range from the mid-90s far north to around 103 in the central part of the branch to the mid-90s in the south. Relative humidity values will fall very quickly during the late morning hours as the temperatures begin to soar. Afternoon minimum relative humidity will drop to 10-15% across the areas north of a Huntsville-to-Lufkin-to-Carthage line while south of the line the relative humidity of 15-25% will be common. Light southwest winds will start in the morning, increasing quickly and becoming gusty by 1000. Winds during the afternoon will be southwesterly at 8-11 mph with gusts 16-21 mph in those northern areas and over the southern areas south to southwest with winds 6-8 gusts to 17 mph. Temperatures will reach the 102-105 range in the north and 95-103 in the south. The seabreeze should reach a Houston-to-Woodville line around 1800 bringing increasing relative humidity levels and slightly cooler temperatures. Mostly sunny to sunny skies will prevail over the region. Patchy fog with visibilities less than two miles will be possible for the areas from Conroe to Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Very good overnight recoveries of 90 or greater for areas south of a San Augustine-to-Crockett line. North of this line, though, moderate recoveries of 65-80% should prevail.