TransPecos wildfires update from Tuesday evening, May 24, 8 pm

High temperatures, low humidity, high winds, and dry vegetation contributed to the rapid spread of three fires in the West Branch today.  The cause of the fires is under investigation.

The Ceed Fire burned 2,500 acres of grass 5 miles west of Midland.  It made a rapid run toward Midland and crossed Highway 250.  The fire threatened oil production facilities, about 100 residences, and 100 other commercial properties and outbuildings, including the Midland Airport and 2 hospitals.  Firefighters were able to save all but one outbuilding.  The area between Ric Road to Miland Drive to Anetta East Drive was evacuated.  About 200 evacuees stayed at a Red Cross shelter at the Horseshoe Arena before the evacuation was lifted.  Seventy firefighters responded to the fire, which is 90 percent contained.  The fire is not expected to spread.

The Derick Fire, 18 miles east of Andrews burned an estimated 15,000 acres and is zero percent contained.  It made significant runs in dry grass, threatening oil wells and production facilities and scattered homes.  61 personnel responded to the fire.

Crews responded to a fire near Kermit, one half mile from the New Mexico border.  The fire was estimated at 6 miles long and one half mile wide.

The 83,995-acre Schwartz Fire, 20 miles east of Marathon, and the 87,401-acre Iron Mountain Fire, 25 miles east of Alpine, were declared controlled today.  No personnel are assigned to the fires, which will be monitored by local fire departments.

The Southern Area Incident Management Team under Incident Commander Mark Morales will transfer back command of fires in the Western Fire Branch to the Texas Forest Service at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday May 25.  Fire crews will remain in strategic locations to respond to new fire starts.  The crews will be managed out of the Texas Forest Service office in Merkel.

Starting Wednesday, please direct information requests to [email protected] or 979-229-7921.

Weather Outlook: Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A fire weather watch is in effect for West Texas Wednesday afternoon and evening.

El Paso/Fort Davis region: Dry, Temp: 89-93, RH: 5%, Winds: W.

Midland/Fort Stockton region: Dry, Temp: mid 90’s, RH: 5%, Winds: W 20-35 mph.

San Angelo region: Dry, Temp: 99, RH: 5%, Winds: SW 8-15 mph, gusts to 18 mph.

Click on the link below and go to Fire Danger/Advisories on sidebar for current information. http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/default.aspx

Jurisdictional Agencies: Texas Forest Service, Sheriff Offices, local fire departments and emergency services, Texas Highway Patrol

Restrictions and closures: None at this time.

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