Fire updates Tuesday; photos from Gage Holland and Iron Mountain Fires from Monday afternoon

Part of the aerial firefighting attacks on the Gage Holland Fire: on Monday afternoon, northwest over a ridge from Sunny Glen, a plane drops fire retardant on the leading edge of the fire, as seen from Ranger Road.

Fire retardant, just dropped, settles on the leading edge of the fire.

A leading edge of the fire Monday afternoon, around and down behind a ridge northwest of Sunny Glen.

A Chinook helicopter in the midst of water-dumping missions refills a 1500-gallon water container (bright red) tethered to it, at a pond near Wagon Road in Sunny Glen Canyon.

Fire still smoldering and burned areas evident behind a house on Rim Road in Sunny Glen.

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.

Burnt-over ridgeline near Toronto Canyon in Sunny Glen, as seen Monday afternoon from FM 1703.

The fire came very close to several homes in Sunny Glen, but thanks to firefighters’ intense efforts, the homes were spared. As seen looking north form FM 1703 Monday afternoon.

Looking into Toronto Canyon Monday afternoon, from FM 1703 in Sunny Glen.

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.

Smoke from the Iron Mountain Fire east of Alpine and northwest of Marathon occluded much of Apine’s eastern horizon Monday afternoon, as seen from the Gallego Center parking lot of Sul Ross State University on the east side of Alpine.

View of smoke plume from the Iron Mountain Fire as seen from HWY 90, about 8 miles east of Alpine Monday afternoon, looking east.

View of Iron Mtn Fire smoke from HWY 90, looking north, just a few miles west of Marathon, Monday afternoon.

View of Iron Mtn Fire Monday afternoon from the northwest edge of Marathon’s street grid.

Iron Mountain Fire smoke plume as seen from the south side of Marathon Monday late afternoon.

From HWY 90, a few miles west of Marathon on Monday late afternoon, smoke from the Iron Mountain Fire billowed to the north. Note actual Iron Mountain visible in center right of this image, though the fire appears to be several miles north of the actual mountain for which the fire was named.

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 and listen for live updates to (online, or at 93.5 FM in the greater Big Bend).

Photos by Marlys Hersey.

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