Texas wildfire update - Sept. 15, 2011

Published: Sep. 15, 2011 at 1:30 PM CDT
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Current situation:

• Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 15 new fires for 2,014 acres, including a new large fire in Clay County.

• In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 137 fires for 19,620 acres.

• The Riley Road Fire in Grimes, Montgomery and Waller counties was contained yesterday at 18,946 acres.

• 250 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

• Daily detailed fire information can be found here or at

New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels; or where homes were lost):

DARK HOLLOW, Clay County. 1,500 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in light fuels. Numerous homes are threatened but none lost. This fire is burning 23 miles southeast of Henrietta.

Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):

BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 34,068 acres, 75 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 as search crews went through the charred subdivisions.

BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 40,963 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.

RHONESBORO (#593), Upshur County. 350 acres, 90 percent contained. As many as 12 homes and two outbuildings destroyed, another 15 homes threatened. This fire is burning approximately 11 miles west of Gilmer.

GETHSEMANE COMPLEX (#592), Marion County. 2,100 acres, 75 percent contained. This complex is burning approximately 8 miles north of Uncertain.

TRUCK FLIP (#899), Trinity County. 832 acres, 50 percent contained. Six homes were threatened and saved. This fire is burning 11 miles east of Trinity.

THIRD (#898), Walker County. 466 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 contained.

UNION GROVE, Bell County. 500 acres, 75 percent contained. One firefighter had a heat stress injury and was transported to the hospital for observation. This fire is burning 7 miles southeast of Killeen.

GEORGE BUSH PARK (#900), Harris County. 1,500 acres, 90 percent contained. A type one helicopter, air attack and ground resources responded. This fire is burning on the outskirts of Houston.

MARSHALL (#574), Harrison County. 1,465 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning actively in timber. Heavy airtankers, C-130s, 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.

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. There are still some hot spots in the fire that crews continue to mop up.

101 RANCH, Palo Pinto County. 6,555 acres, 95 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.

Weather Outlook:

A cold front will continue to drop south across the state today, but will begin to stall out generally north of the Interstate 10 corridor. The cold front and passing upper level disturbances will bring good rain chances and some wetting rains to the panhandle. Ahead of the front, southerly to southeasterly winds are expected along with warm temperatures and low relative humidities. As the front moves by, winds will shift to the east southeast or east and then northeasterly within an hour or two. Improved humidity and cooler temperatures are expected after the front passes a location. Overall, rain chances will generally decrease rapidly south of Interstate 20. Rain chances will be very low over the South, south part of Central Branch and South Central Branch during the next couple of days. The front will return north and northeast as a warm at the end of the week and bring warmer air back into areas that have cooled recently.

A ridge of high pressure will expand south over Texas today slowly pushing the cold near Henderson in the morning south to a Crockett to Jasper line around noon and stalling. North of the front cloudy weather will be the general rule along with much cooler afternoon highs 77-85 and minimum relative humidity of 35 to 45 percent. Scattered showers associated with an upper level disturbance moving through Oklahoma may swing the showers east through the northern portions of the Branch becoming more isolated southward as far as the front moves during the late afternoon and evening hours. Northeasterly winds of 9-13 mph with gusts of 12-20 mph will prevail to the north of the cold front. South of the front expect warmer temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s. East and northeast winds of 5-10 with gusts of 10-15 mph. Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy. Minimum afternoon humidity will range from 40 to 55 percent south of the front. During the afternoon hours isolated showers and thunderstorms will be possible along the front down to the coast. Overnight recoveries of 65 to 75 percent north and 75-90 percent south can be expected.