The Wildfire Report August 3, 2018

Lampasas Firemen were called into Burnet Co. yesterday afternoon about 5:30pm. A grass fire, called the Dog Ranch fire and was put out by about 7pm with only 7.75 acres involved. It occurred at a spot near Mesquite Creek, accessed by Burnet Co. Road 228 and Hwy 183 S. A Facebook post by Robin England reported that it was on their place. Lampasas units were back in the station after about 2 hours.

The Burnet Co. Park Fire is still not fully contained, according to authorities, though it is just clean up work going on and all residents are back home.

A small fire broke out in Llano Co. yesterday. It is called the Rivada Fire and a Forest Service update about 6pm last evening said it was only an acre at that point but 0% contained.

The Texas forest Service posted this notice:

Increased winds are expected to develop Friday afternoon across the Panhandle and Southern Plains. The winds may extend into the western parts of the Rolling Plains and the Hill Country over the weekend. (forecast into San Saba Co. by Sunday but only getting to western Lampasas Co.)

Combined with last week’s drying and above normal high temperatures, there will be elevated fire danger for these areas. The public is urged to be careful with all outdoor activities.

Also: Here are five things you can do around your home today to reduce your risk of an approaching wildfire:
1. Clean your gutters.
2. Mow and water your lawn.
3. Move firewood a minimum of 30 feet from your home.
4. Remove anything stored under decks or porches.
5. Make sure your home address is visible from the road.

The Wildfire Report August 2, 2018

The Central Texas fires are almost all out now. The Park Road Fire in Burnet County, that took in 557 acres is now listed as 90% contained with just mop up work going on.

Other fires that are going in the state are at Nacogdoches where a 150 acre fire is 50% controlled, and small fires at Hylton Ranch (45 acres)in west Texas and Hughes (93 acres) along the Red River at the Oklahoma border are about out at 90% controlled.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, it’s the 200th day of the Texas wildfire season. To date, TFS and local fire departments report 6,596 wildfires for 461,385 acres burned. Another dry, breezy spell is increasing the potential for wildfire activity.

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The Wildfire Report

It is day 198 of the Texas wildfire season. Since last Friday, Texas A&M Forest Service responded to 24 new wildfires for a total of 842 acres. 

557 acres of the above came from the Park Road Fire in Burnet Co. which is now said to be 80% contained. Crews continue to monitor the fire. TV station KXAN reported that a Houston couple came to check on their property near Inks Lake. To their dismay, on arrival they found the fire had destroyed their log cabin, a trailer, and an Airstream camper.

Fire Chief Reece Oestreich told us it was quiet for their Lampasas unit yesterday– for a welcome change. Here’s hoping the slightly cooler afternoons help keep down the fire calls.

Speaking of calls, much has been said and deservedly so, about the firemen out fighting the wildfires. But, one of the important links in this public service we say little about is that of the Dispatchers and 9-1-1 Operators.

They’re not on the front line the way firemen and policemen are, but have painfully stressful jobs with huge responsibilities. In our Lampasas City and County stations, we are served extremely well by our force of dispatchers.

They take the emergency police or fire calls, get the information right, and dispatch the proper units to the scene…and they do it quickly.

We talk to them quite often to get news  reports, and we find them taking their responsibility to serve very seriously.

Thank you, Dispatchers, for jobs well done.   

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The Wildfire Report July 30, 2018

A small grassfire started Saturday about 2:40pm and sent Lampasas firemen to a spot on FM 580E about 5 miles east of Lampasas. Though the fire was small in the number of acres (10 acres) involved, it was serious because of the number of homes (about 50) in the area. Fire Chief Reece Oestreich ordered evacuation of the area until the fire was brought under control. He said there was a lot of cedar and brush and the fire kept jumping across 580E. It was a fire that had to be controlled fast because of the area homes. He had called for mutual aid from numerous other departments. Kempner was the first to come on scene, then other county units, Adamsville and Lometa, along with Copperas Cove, Killeen, Burnet and Oakalla fire departments.

The State Forest Service, National Forest Service, and even a Fire  Attack Unit from Old Mexico came in to help.

Fire water drops, along with a spotter, prop. Plane came in to completely quench the fire and allow homeowners to get back into their homes, many of them likely smoke filled.

The cause of the fire was a trailer wheel that, one report says came off. At any rate, the driver was located and a report made on the incident.

The next big fire – Inks Lake area, The Park Road Fire or CR116 Fire. This one started last night and ran along Park Rd. 4 from CR 118 to SH 29 and on from there. It was last reported at 500 acres and 35% contained. Numerous homes and park area residents were evacuated. Lampasas firemen, along with Kempner firemen were  dispatched with brush trucks and a tanker to help with this one.  

It has brought numerous resources into the area because of the rough country and fodder for wildfire.

 

 

 

 Park Fire in Burnet county

Park Fire in Burnet county

 Water drop on the 580E fire in Lampasas 7-28-18

Water drop on the 580E fire in Lampasas 7-28-18

 580E Fire 7-28-18

580E Fire 7-28-18

The Wildfire Report July 28, 2018

News in from Fort Hood where the last big fire, of some 8,500 acres, in this area has been burning.

Fort Hood Fire Chief Sergio Campos said at 1pm yesterday that the range fires were 90% contained.

Luckily, the fires on the Ft. Hood Reservation were on the firing ranges, away from homes or significant buildings.

Campos did say that the West Range Road, on the western portion of the training area, and Triple A Road, in the northern training area, remain closed until further notice.

To help with the fire control effort, two UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters and crews from Fort Riley, Kansas, joined the Fort Hood crews Friday.

Fort Hood fire personnel and supporting military units will continue firefighting operations to suppress and contain the Fort Hood range fires over the weekend.

The rest of the numerous wildfires in Lampasas and surrounding counties are now considered 100% contained or out.  That, thanks to the service of our local, first on the scene and last to leave, firemen, and to the mutual aid furnished by fire departments in the area, and to the Texas State Forest Service that  furnishes personnel and equipment not always available to the local area firemen. The dozers and airplanes and helicopters make a big difference in fighting the big fires.

 

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The Wildfire Report July 27, 2018

Lampasas firemen had a bit of a break yesterday as no new wildfires broke out in the county. Wednesday’s Underwood/Eddy Ranches Fire was mopped up and the fire line patrolled on Thursday with no problems. It had taken in 262 acres but fast action by all Lampasas Co. fire departments and volunteers, along with County Commissioner units and some help from other volunteer efforts put it out before they went home Wednesday evening.

The new fire on Thursday in Central Texas was back at the Mills/Brown County line. It was just a few miles south of the big CR 259 Fire that took in 1,658 acres but is now out. This new fire is called the Sledge Fire and is right on the county line and several miles west of Hwy 183, and several miles south of Zephyr. It took in some 179 acres before being 90% contained. That report was at about 7pm last evening.

The other, still active, area fire is the 8,500 acre combination of Fort Hood Range Fires. The Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services fire personnel estimate they have achieved more than 80 percent containment of the Fort Hood range fires as of Thursday afternoon.

The use of prescribed burns as a preventative measure to deny fuel to the fires, as well as a favorable wind direction, and the efforts by fire and military personnel have helped stop the  range fires from spreading, according to Sergio Campos, Fort Hood’s fire chief. 

Operations Thursday included air-water drops on hot spots and bull dozer support to cut and widen fire breaks in an effort to further contain the fire. They’ve had 8 helicopters and six military dozers and lots of personnel fighting the

fires, and they repeat that the “…the fire poses no immediate risk of leaving the installation boundary, nor does it pose an immediate threat to life or property.”

The Burnet County CR 108 Fire is finally called 100% contained at 737 acres, as is the Harmon Road Fire that took in 2,887 acres. 

 

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The Wildfire Report July 26, 2018

Just when firemen thought they might have a breather Wednesday morning, the alarms went off again in the afternoon.  This time it was back toward Adamsville, up Hwy 281 about 8-1/2 miles to the area of the Underwood ranch and the Jim Eddy ranch.

There it seems 4 fires along the highway were blazing. The wind eventually brought them all together into one 262 acre fire. It was a fierce firefight, with Fire Chief Reece Oestrich calling for mutual aid from other fire departments. Adamsville units came quickly and were joined by Lometa, Kempner, Copperas Cove, Burnet and Oakalla fire units. County Commissioner maintainers came in to help, as well as State Forest Service dozers and special state Air Command spotters. A special fire team that was working on the Harmon Fire came in to help, and even a local business, Agro-Tech, came in with water tanks to refill fire tankers.

We talked with Chief Oestrich this morning as he and a crew were out checking fire lines this morning. The fire involved some 262 acres altogether, and is declared fully controlled and for all practical purposes - out.

As to what started the fires along Hwy 281, they don’t know but there was certainly a coincidence. The Chief said it could have been a truck tire problem, a dragging chain or one of a number of things. The fire was big enough that Hwy 281 was shut down for a time. No homes or barns were damaged, though apparently one shed of some sort in a pasture was burned up.

We can all be thankful, and proud, of the successful work our area firemen are providing during this stressful time in Central Texas.

Oh yeah! In another interesting note, Chief Oestreich told us that apparently another small fire broke out on 281 by the airport. He said that  passerby motorists seemed to have stopped and joined in to stomp out the fire…and they did!

Fort Hood’s Range Fires continue to be a problem with no easy solution. Grass fires were first spotted flaring up in the installation’s impact area July 17. Since then, separate fires in that training area grew to about 8,500 acres. As of last report, they say it is still not under control.

“We are carefully managing risk from this fire to reduce any possible impacts to our neighboring communities,” III Corps and Deputy Base Commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper said Tuesday.

Due to their isolated location, the fires within Fort Hood’s training area pose no immediate risk of leaving the post boundary, and they aren’t an immediate threat to life or property. 

So say Fort Hood officials in media updates. However, they say the intense heat, up to 112°, over the past week has impacted firefighting operations, and caused “intense fire behavior.” That according to Bob Adams, chief of operations for the Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services. He said it was “thus making it a challenge to extinguish fires. The fires are burning extremely hot and burn the dry vegetation very quickly.”

Firefighting efforts were augmented, initially, by the Texas State Forestry Service providing water and fire retardant drops, though TSFS assistance left the installation over the weekend to tackle other fires in the state. That brought more military units in with helicopters and bulldozers to take up the fight and they’ve been working on widening firebreaks, and dropping water from Bambi Buckets onto hot spots within the impact area.

The Fort Hood fires, collectively, make up the largest of all the wildfires in Central Texas.

The 259 Fire in Brown County, held at 1658 acres, is now 90%  contained

 

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The Wildfire Report July 25, 2018

Many of the area wildfires continued to burn yesterday and overnight. Many others have been declared under control, and many new fires erupted. Lampasas Co. firemen faced new challenges on Tuesday as, at 11:47am, they were dispatched to a grass fire 4.3 mi. east of Lampasas on Hwy 190. There they found a fast burning brush fire thought to take in about 6 acres initially. It was deemed the 190/Crawford Ranch fire but many locals were referring to it as the 4 Jacks area. It was actually on along the east side of Crawford Place and mostly on the neighboring ranch land belonging to John Snell. Two Lampasas brush trucks were sent to the scene, assisted by one from the Kempner VFD. The fire was mostly controlled by local units, but the Forestry Service was brought in with 2 dozers to create a fire line. They also brought 4 brush trucks to squash the fire. The fire was small, only a few acres, but it was important because of houses in the area. It was declared under control by 4:59pm, though it was checked last night and some rekindle put out.

Two witnesses say a cigarette was flipped from a vehicle to start the fire. One of them, a cement truck driver, stopped and attempted to put out the fire with water on the truck but couldn’t and the firemen were called.

While the Crawford fire was being brought under control in the afternoon, firemen were called to a grass fire on CR 1301, near the “gap”, and less than a mile south of Hwy 183/190W at a point halfway between Lampasas and Lometa. Lampasas and Lometa firemen were called on to squash a 10 acre grass fire that lasted from 3:31pm to 4:07pm. It was small, estimated at 6 acres, and was caused by a fire in a burn barrel.

Shortly after the above, at 4:53pm, firemen were called to a fire in the Lometa area along CR 2640 where 6-8 acres was burned. The fire was started by embers from a burn barrel.

Other area fires still going include:

The CR 108 Fire in Burnet Co. several miles south of Lampasas has been declared 80% contained and took in 737 acres.

The CR 259 Fire, in Brown Co., just across the county line from Mills Co. northeast of Zephyr, has taken in 1,658 acres and was last reported over the weekend as 80% contained.

The Mills Co. Fire and the Harman Road Fire are now out.

The Cotton Berger Operations fire in Coryell Co. but in the NE part of the Fort Hood Reservation was last reported by the Forest Service on Sunday as taking in 300 acres and was not contained at all.  There are actually six different fires going on, as can be seen in this picture taken from a military helicopter.                                                                                        All the fires are in the north side of the reservation, generally on their firing range areas. The military is using dozers to create fire lanes and have six helicopters dropping water.                                                                     Two roads through the western part of the post, West Range Road and Triple A Road, have been closed due to heavy smoke and poor visibility. However, a statement meant to calm fears of neighboring communities said, “Currently, the fire poses no immediate risk of leaving the installation boundary, nor does it pose an immediate threat to life or property.” Another message, this one from Copperas Cove Fire Chief, noted that smoke and ash was dropping from the sky in Cove, coming from the Fort Hood fires, but there was no danger from it.

The Harman Road Fire is now said to be completely out, as is the FM2005 Fire in Mills Co.

Caution is begged for again. Burn barrel use, cigarettes out windows, welding machines and grinders are the most common things we’ve heard of that start these fires. These are human carelessness.  Please be careful.

 190/Crawford Fire 

190/Crawford Fire 

 aerial view of Fort Hood with 6 active fires

aerial view of Fort Hood with 6 active fires

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Wildfire Report July 24, 2018

July 24, 2018

Burnet County CR 108 Fire was reported, as of 4:45pm Monday, to cover 737 acres and was 60% contained. It is in the area southwest of Lampasas, about mid-way between Lampasas and Burnet, but well west of Hwy 281, and along the South Fork of Morgan Creek.

Mills County FM2005 Fire was reported as of 3:45pm Monday to cover about 700 acres and was 10% contained. This morning they report that it was about 1500 acres total and is now 100% contained. Fire depts. from Hamilton, Goldthwaite, Star, Priddy, Pottsville and Shive were on hand at the fire and Forest Service air drops were being made.  

Coryell Co. CR 344 Fire near  Flat kept Coryell Co. Firefighters busy Monday. That fire was contained. 

Brown Co. Fire 259,  near Zephyr, brought evacuations. The fire (pix left) was last reported to cover 1,200 acres and was 25% contained as of Monday evening about 9:20pm. The big news there was that a dynamite and ammonium nitrate storage facility was in the area. The Forest Service said last night it was actually not being threatened by the fire.

Adamsville CR581/ Hwy 281 fire that broke out Monday covered 19.5 acres and was 95% contained as of 7pm Monday evening. As of this morning we understand it is completely out.

The Harman Road Fire that has been going since last Thursday, 7/19/18 was originally reported to cover 5,005 acres but that estimate has now been updated with new calculations and is said to have only covered 2,887acres. It is now reported as 50% contained but some reports in the area say it is now down to just clean up and smoldering trees and debris.

A Fort Hood training range fire was reported yesterday afternoon to be under control after burning about 700 acres in a couple of hours. It seems to have started about 2pm Monday and sent Ft. Hood firemen and local area firemen, along with one helicopter, to fight the fire. Several fires have plagued the Fort Hood Reservation over the last few days and wind shift yesterday have brought the smell of smoke and some ash drops to the communities south of the Reservation.                                                                                               

 

                          

 

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