Jeff Davis County
Office of the Fire Marshal
Hughes Ranch Fire
June 8, 2008 12:00
NOTE: No additional donations of food or supplies are needed at this time. We thank all of the community that has supplied donations and those that have offered their assistance. All volunteer resources have returned to their respective stations.
Current Reported Size: 52,791 acres
Cause: Railroad crews welding on tracks
Origin Location: HWY 90 near the Aerostat site, Presidio County
Estimated Containment Date: June 8, 2008
Structures Lost: NONE
Structures Saved: approximately 500, including over 400 structures at the history Bloys Camp.
Current Operational Objectives:
Patrol and secure fire lines on all sides of the fire.
Volunteer fire departments are being held in reserve for response to break outs or additional fires. (20% chance of T-storms in the afternoon for Saturday and Sunday)
Day 1 (Wed. June 4th)
Volunteer fire departments and the Texas Forest Service have made tremendous progress on an incredibly stubborn fire. Local fire volunteer fire departments from Fort Davis, Davis Mountain Resort, Valentine, Marfa, Alpine Balmarhea, Pecos, Fort Stockton, Monahans and Marathon worked throughout the first afternoon and night to protect homes and structures that were imminently threatened by the fire.
A Texas Forest Service Strike Team that was prestaged in Fort Davis also joined the efforts the first night in attempts to slow or redirect the fast moving fire from housing areas.
Fire fighters faced numerous challenges including record break dry fuels, high temperatures, low humidity, high winds and difficult remote terrain.
Mandatory evacuations were put in place for the War Bonnet subdivision. A voluntary evacuation order was issued for the Crow's Nest subdivision. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) was activated and the National Weather Service broadcast the message off of the recently constructed NWS radio tower near Alpine.
Day 2 (Thur. June 5th)
Day 2 saw the morning break with most volunteer departments still on the fire line. Extreme fire behavior was witnessed all through the night. Additional assets from the Texas Forest Service arrived including 5 additional strike teams and air assets. During the afternoon numerous flare ups and break outs were fought by all departments and agencies. Air assets include a two air attack platforms, 2 heavy and one medium helicopters, and 4 light air tankers (SEATs) and 4 heavy air tankers.
By early evening the fire had spread to where it was threatening the Marfa Airport. Volunteer departments were staged at the airport however a helicopter in conjunction with three motor graders were able to cut off the fire approximately half a mile before it reached the airport.
Additional ranch homes and structures as well as the historic Bloys Camp church camp were also protected and saved from multiple fire fronts.
Fire line is now constructed around most of the fire with the exception of the west side of the fire.
All evacuation orders were lifted by 10am.
During the night, Fort Davis VFD was paged out at 1am to a ranch house when a small break out threatened the house. They returned to the station at 5am.
Day 3 (Fri. June 6th)
The only active fire today remains on the west side. All volunteer fire departments are being held in reserve for any possible break outs and for response to any new fires.
Texas Forest Service crews continue to monitor, mop up and secure lines around the fire. Two Hot Shot crews and air assets were used to contain the west side of the fire.
By early afternoon, fire crews were being released.
Day 4 (Sat. June 7th)
TFS and Hot Shot crews made good progress yesterday on the east end of the fire. At this point there are no active break outs or fire fronts. If the fire lines hold today with no major break outs we will consider this fire 100% contained.
There has been nearly 80 miles of fire line built to contain this fire over the past 3 days.
Day 5 (Sun. June 8th)
No additional break outs were observed yesterday. If the lines continue to hold today this fire will be considered to be contained. Some areas inside the lines may still produce smoke and some flames over the next few days but they are not considered to be a threat.
During the night there were several T-storms that crossed the county. One new fire start was observed, but rain moved over it. Air attack will file over the location today as well as the Hughes fire to check for any threats.
If there are no additional break outs today, this will be the last situation report issued for this fire.
Michael H. Ward
Jeff Davis County Fire Marshal
Pictures by Marian Frueh and David Doss
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