Texas Forest Service
September 5, 2011 by USA Post
Central Texas is on fire. The worst-case scenario proposed by the Texas Forest Service when they learned of Tropical Storm Lee became a reality in the early afternoon of September 4, 2011 as the strong winds fanned the flames in the dry landscape of Texas during the worst drought on record in Texas.
At least eight large fires are now burning in central Texas alone and resources are stretched so thin that it can be days before some of these fires are under control. At one point in the afternoon, the city of Austin issued a request for at least 25 firefighters called to re-activate to help fire and firefighters responded immediately.
At least 300 homes burned in Bastrop, Texas
30 to 40 mph winds were in the city, a forest fire in Bastrop, Texas burned 14,000 hectares, and nowhere near content. At least 300 homes damaged or destroyed and evacuated hundreds of people. Nineteen independent agencies are working together to fight this fire began as two separate fires that merged, blowing across state highways 21 and 71. Firefighters had three C-130 water on the fire before nightfall.
The Pedernales Fire Department, Travis County closed State Highway 71 around 3 pm this afternoon after responding to a fire alarm Spicewood 2 when they discovered the fire had crossed the road. Spicewood Fire, located near the southwestern part of Lake Travis, burned 1,000 acres near the ranch of Paleface, destroyed several homes in the Rancho District pale face, and forced hundreds of evacuations. Spicewood Fire is now 10% contained.
Steiner Ranch fire near 620 and Mansfield Dam also began around 3 pm this afternoon, possibly at a construction site. All Steiner Ranch residents were evacuated and cars and trucks lined the roads as families anxiously begged to be allowed to return home long enough to save their pets and check the status of their homes. The latest reports said Steiner Ranch fire has destroyed 25 homes.
Burnet County, 50 residents were evacuated in Silver Creek as a fire raced through their division. Near Marble Falls, Double Eagle Ranch, however, another fire was burning most of the afternoon. The Double Eagle Ranch fire threatened two homes and burned two outbuildings. The Marble Falls Volunteer Fire Department said the fire was 50% contained.
A 200-acre fire in Pflugerville, Texas, was finally contained, with the help of 13 fire agencies and the use of an excavator. Housing residents were evacuated to 192 local high school. One abandoned home was destroyed. However, there were two fires in Pflugerville this afternoon. One was a forest fire that was quickly extinguished.
Caldwell County, a fire six miles long in Texas Market Road 304 and 713 continues to rage in the bushes and trees. Firefighters in the area do not have the staff to work the fire and concentrate on protecting homes and other structures. Caldwell County also had a forest fire that was quickly extinguished.
Outside the center of Texas, Colorado County, Texas, a brush fire caused evacuations 1,800 hectares in the Piney Woods around noon to five separate fires joined together. In the north of Cedar Park, two houses were destroyed and dozens of residents evacuated by a grass fire near Highway 183 near Block House Creek.
According to Texas Governor Rick Perry of Texas is a tinderbox
On more than one occasion, Governor Rick Perry has referred to the state of Texas as a powder keg. On September 3, 2011, the day before the explosion of wildfire Central Texas, Texas Forest Service communications officer Tom Berglund appeared to second this view expressed concern about the winds from Tropical Storm Lee.
“We’ve been talking about this storm days,” said Berglund. Berglund explained that fuels – dry grass, dead trees – that is the landscape of drought-scarred Texas are 1000 fuel an hour, which means you have more than 1000 hours for the fuel to change its moisture content, no matter how much rain can come. There was no rain, just wind.
Since the beginning of fire season in November 2010, the Texas Forest Service and local firefighters responded to 20,631 fires have burned 3,549,047 acres, not counting the fires of September 4, 2011. Six of the 10 largest wildfires in April 2011, including fire Possum Kingdom, in an area that once again, is besieged by flames, now called the Ranch Fire 101. More than 3,000 structures, including 679 homes were confirmed lost for the season this year, wildfires, and these numbers do not include damage from the current fires burning in central Texas.
As for the historic drought in Texas, 81 percent of the state remains in exceptional drought conditions, the highest category of drought, and all but three of the state’s 254 counties are prohibited from burning. Many small towns in Texas are in stages 3 and 4 water restrictions, including the cities of Llano and Marble Falls, Texas, as water from lakes and rivers, just dry in the extreme heat of Texas.
Texas, Volunteer Fire Department
The fires of September 4, 2011 have highlighted once again one of the most serious situations of Texas might face in the near future with their local volunteer fire departments.
In Texas, local fire departments respond first volunteers and usually appeal to the Texas Forest Service, when the fire burned over 100 hectares, or is beyond their control. According to Chris Barron, Executive Director of the State Fireman and Firefighter’s Association, there are 1.400 volunteer fire departments in the State of Texas and 86% of volunteer firefighters use personal money to help purchase supplies, fuel, and the cost of repairs equipment used by his department.
Actor Kyle Chandler recently volunteered for numerous public service announcements urging Texans to join their local volunteer fire departments and donate to the bottom of a fire the firefighters, and four of the great coaches of the football team 12 – Texas A & M coach Mike Sherman, coach Mack Brown University of Texas, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, and Baylor coach Art Briles – also recorded a public service announcement for volunteer fire departments in Texas, saying, “When is to protect Texas, we’re all on the same team. “
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