Fire Earth

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Texas Wildfires Destroy 1,626 Homes, as Drought Worsens

Posted by feww on September 8, 2011

Extreme and exceptional drought levels plague nearly 96 percent of Texas

Wildfires have consumed more than 3.62 million acres of Texas since January

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“Oppressive heat and fires were the story in the country’s mid-section and southern Plains as no relief was seen there this past week. In a bit of cruel irony, it was the strong and persistent winds of Lee, which just missed the mark of the drought’s epicenter in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, that fanned the large number of fire outbreaks in Texas.” Drought Monitor

Disaster Calendar 2011 – September 8

[September 8, 2011]  Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,651 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History

  • Texas, USA. The total number of homes destroyed by Bastrop fire is now confirmed at 1,386. At least 240 additional homes have been lost on other fires since Sunday, for a total of about 1,626, TFS reported.
    • The worst fires in Central Texas for at least a century are fulled by a year-long intense drought, low humidity and strong winds generated by the remnants of weather system that had earlier spawned Tropical Storm Lee.
    • Texas has been plagued by its worst drought in at least 6 decades.
    • Drought is expected to continue in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
    • Fire Management Details(Texas Forest Service, TFS)
      • Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011
      • National Preparedness Level: 3
      • Southern Area Preparedness Level: 4
      • TFS Preparedness Level: 5
    • Fire Stats
      • Total Number of Fires YTD: ~ 18,776
      • Acres burned: ~ 3,621,589 [“That’s roughly the size of Connecticut.” Rick Perry said.]
      • Structures Destroyed by Fire: 4,155 units [FEWW Estimate: ~5,200]
      • Fires in the past 7 days: TFS has responded to 176 fires for 126,844 acres.
      • Since Sunday about 1,626  homes and other structures have been destroyed in various fires.
      • At least 5,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes.
      • About 700 people are in emergency shelters.
      • The 34,000-acre Bastrop Complex Fire near Austin is reportedly 30 percent contained.
      • BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 25,000 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning very actively in heavy timber and is threatening numerous houses. Eight homes have been destroyed.
      • PEDERNALES BEND (Spicewood), Travis County. 6,500 acres, 80 percent contained. Sixty-seven homes were destroyed.
      • RILEY ROAD, Grimes/Montgomery/Waller counties. 11,000 acres, 60 percent contained. Seventy-five homes have been destroyed just west of Magnolia.
      • TAMINA ROAD, Montgomery County. 150 acres, unknown containment. Hundreds of homes were evacuated Monday, but none was reported lost.
      • UNION CHAPEL, Bastrop County. 912 acres, 90 percent contained. Twenty-five homes were destroyed just west of Bastrop.
      • PETERS CHAPEL, Harrison County. 650 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning actively in pine plantation. Numerous homes have been evacuated. Two homes were destroyed.
      • STEINER RANCH, Travis County. 125 acres, 50 percent contained.  More than 1,000 homes were evacuated. Thirty-five homes were destroyed.
      • #491, Limestone County. 3,000 acres, 95 percent contained. One was lost 20 miles east of Waco.
      • DELHI, Caldwell County. 6,000 acres. Six homes were lost on this fire east of Lockhart.
      • BAILEY, Colorado County. 2,300 acres, 90 percent contained. This fast-moving fire threatened 40 homes near Columbus. Ten homes were destroyed.
      • DIANA (#545), Upshur County. 2,500 acres, 70 percent contained. Twenty homes are threatened.
      • LUTHERHILL, Fayette County. 2,700 acres, 95 percent contained. The community of Ruttersville was evacuated. Fourteen homes were destroyed.
      • MOORE, Smith County. 1,500 acres, 90 percent contained. Ten homes were evacuated and five were lost on this fire burning on the Smith/Gregg County line. Two civilian fatalities were reported.
      • Wildfires in East Texas have consumed at least 2,000 acres, killing a woman and her baby and destroying more than a dozen homes, a report said.
      • BOOT WALKER (#553), Marion County. 1,000 acres, unknown containment. Thirty homes are threatened.
      • TOAD ROAD (#552), Upshur County. 350 acres, unknown containment. Three homes were lost and dozens remain threatened.
      • HOPEWELL (#854), Walker County. 1,035 acres, 90 percent contained. Thirty homes have been evacuated, five homes were destroyed.
      • HALSBRO COMPLEX, Red River County. 958 acres, unknown containment. Fifteen homes are threatened, but none reported lost.
      • #502, Nacogdoches County. 4,000 acres, unknown containment. More than a dozen homes have been evacuated, but none lost.
      • ARBOR, Houston County. 3,000 acres, 90 percent contained. Up to 15 homes are reported lost.
      • OLD MAGNOLIA, Gregg County. 1,000 acres, 80 percent contained. Several structures and a gas plant are threatened. Two fuel tanks exploded.
      • #839, Leon County (Concord Robbins). 4,689 acres, 90 percent contained. Twenty homes are reported lost and more than 300 were evacuated.
      • 101 RANCH, Palo Pinto County. 6,555 acres, 85 percent contained. The fire is burning on the south side of Possum Kingdom Lake near the town of Brad. Thirty-nine homes and nine RV’s have been reported destroyed.
      • Death toll from the fire outbreak has climbed to at least 4, a report said.
      • Yesterday (September 7, 2011) TFS responded to 20 new fires for 1,422 acres, including new large fires in Red River, Smith, and Cherokee/Rusk counties.
      • TFS has responded to 176 fires for 126,844 acres in the past seven days.
      • Texas drought-related losses YTD: At least $10 billion

  • Oklahoma, USA. D3 and D4 (extreme and exceptional) drought levels now plague nearly 85.5 percent of the state.
  • New Mexico, USA. D3 and D4 drought levels have intensified across NM, currently gripping about 72.2 percent of the state, a rise of more than 11 percent since last week.

Global Climate

The forecasters at Climate Prediction Center (CPC) have upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory. “La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter.”

This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the CPC. “La Niña also often brings colder winters to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains, and warmer temperatures to the southern states.”

Other Global Incidents

  • Wellington, New Zealand. A mystery virus with flu-like symptoms has forced at least one Wellington school to shut  down, as a third of of the students and half the staff were sickened, a report said.
    • “Some students were also suffering ear and chest infections.”

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