Fort Davis fire consumes 22,053 acres and is 15% contained

The Texas Forest Service issued this update at about 1 PM today.

Size: 22,053 acres Location: Approximately 20 miles west of Fort Davis, Texas County: Jeff Davis

Start Date: April 30, 2018 Containment: 15% Cause: Lightning Total Personnel: 265

The fire is burning in brush and grass in steep terrain east of Valentine, northwest of Marfa and west of Fort Davis, Texas within the Highway 118/166 scenic loop. Ridgetop dead Ponderosa pines from the drought in 2011are scattered along ridges including Paradise Ridge above the Davis Mountain Resort.

Yesterday’s Activities: Due to heavy cloud cover and moderate temperatures, the fire did not grow significantly yesterday. These conditions helped firefighters make “tremendous progress in fire suppression,” said Operations Chief Shane Crimm of the Texas A&M Forest Service. Firefighters improved fire containment lines in the HO Canyon area northwest of the fire using local and Texas A&M Forest Service heavy equipment, including motorgraders. Moderated weather allowed firefighters to do reconnaissance of the fire interior, where one cabin on the 4K Livermore Ranch was found to have burned down. A small shed on the Barnett Livermore Ranch was also lost, but no other buildings were lost. New construction on the Valentine Ranch was not harmed by the fire. Because of gusty winds, helicopters and planes could not fly to help suppress the fire.

Today’s Activities: Today the Southern Area Type 1 Incident Management Team will transition with the Texas A&M Forest Service team to manage the fire. More firefighters and equipment continue to arrive and be assigned to the fireline, where line improvement will continue. The goal is to keep the fire within the scenic loop and protect homes, with the focus today on the Davis Mountain Resort and the northern flank of the fire. Helicopters and planes will help cool hot spots on Paradise Ridge and the eastern flank of the fire. There is a temporarily flight restriction in place around the fire.

Resources threatened: Currently the fire is a half a mile from the closest house in the Davis Mountain Resort, a community of about 400 homes. This area, at the northeast flank of the fire east of Paradise Ridge, is a priority concern due to an accumulation of dead and dry vegetation and poor road access. The Crow’s Nest community of about 30 homes at the southeast flank of the fire is also of concern, but good progress has been made in containing the southern flank near those homes.

Evacuations: A voluntary evacuation is in place for the Davis Mountain Resort because of firefighting personnel and equipment in the area and warmer and drier weather today, with 20 mph winds.

Weather: Today will be a near critical day” according to incident meteorologist Scott Breit. It will be warmer and dryer today than yesterday with highs in the upper 70’s, minimum relative humidity around 12 percent, and southwest to west winds 15-20 mph.

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