1 pm Tuesday: The Gage Holland Fire to the west of Alpine is still active, though residents of Sunny Glen, evacuated Sunday afternoon, have been allowed to return home. At the last official estimate, the fire was 75% contained, and had covered 4,550 acres (or 7.1 square miles). Crews were continuing to fight the fire, with aerial drops of water and fire retardant as well as ground fighting efforts, with the interior of the fire being the most active at this time.
Also, yesterday a new fire broke out north of Marathon. The “Iron Mountain Fire,” approximately 10 miles northwest of Marathon (several miles north of HWY 90 between Alpine and Marathon, with the smoke plume clearly visible from both towns) has already burned 1,200 acres. Fire suppression efforts, including aerial suppression, are ongoing. The fire is in difficult terrain and growth potential is high.
The Schwartz Fire, 20 miles east of Marathon, began Saturday around 5 pm, has already covered 3,684 acres and, at last update last night, was only 5% contained. Smoke from both this fire and the Iron Mountain Fire occupied most of the northeast quadrant of the horizon visible from Marathon Monday afternoon.
A severe weather alert remains in effect across West Texas and southeastern New Mexico through Wednesday evening for extremely high fire danger,with high temperatures, “windy conditions, very low relative humidity.” Winds are forecast for 25-35 mph out of the southwest with gusts over 40 mph.
For more information, visit inciweb.org and listen for live updates to marfapublicradio.org (online, or at 93.5 FM in the greater Big Bend).
Photos by Marlys Hersey.