What is in this article?:
- Texas wildfires exact heavy cost.
- Homes, grazing, fencing destroyed.
- Recovery recommendations include prescribed grazing, rejuvenation.
New fires break out almost daily. Recent wildfires include:
- DETON COLE, in Val Verde County, 4,300 acres.
- SPADE RANCH, Terry County, 4,000 acres.
- FULLER, Scurry County, 2,000 acres. The fire was15 miles northwest of Snyder. MATHIS, Cottle County, 300 acres. One home was saved from this fire just on the north side of Paducah. T-BAR RANCH, Lynn County, 1,500 acres.
- TAYLOR, Concho County, 500 acres, 6 miles east of Eden. Some fires have been burning for days and continue to pose threats.
- ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties, 224,956 acres. Twenty-three homes and two commercial structures were destroyed in the Fort Davis area in the initial burning period. WILDCAT, Coke County, 159,308 acres. This fire was burning in tall grass north of San Angelo. More than 400 homes have been saved; one was destroyed. The communities of Grape Creek, Quail Valley, Bronte, Robert Lee, Tennyson and Orient were threatened, but all evacuation orders have been lifted.
- PIPELINE, Tyler County, 7,100 acres. Forty homes were threatened by this fire.
The Possum Kingdom Complex in Stephens and Palo Pinto Counties has been one of the most difficult fires to control and raged for more than a week before fire fighters could attain 80 percent control. The massive fire (four separate fires) covered 126,734 acres and destroyed 167 homes and two churches near Possum Kingdom Lake. Caddo, Strawn and Bunger were evacuated.
Lower winds and higher humidity beginning around the Easter weekend helped firefighters gain the upper hand.
“Weather remains the key factor in wildfire threat,” Stobaugh says. “Some areas have recently received much-needed rain; others remain under a prolonged drought with high winds that exacerbate wildfire threats. In West Texas, conditions continue to make the area vulnerable. Warm and humid conditions have mitigated wildfire concerns somewhat in East Texas.”
NRCS recommends that landowners, farmers, ranchers and others practice fire prevention measures, including:
- Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.
- Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials that might cause a spark.
- To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850. If possible, safely obtain an accurate description of the person and/or vehicle (including the license number) before calling the hotline.
- Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.
- Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires, so be careful.
For more information on drought and wildfire, check these websites: U.S. Drought Monitor
http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html. The Texas Forest Service has one of the most up-to-date information sources for wildfires at this time. http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/main/default.aspx?dept=frp