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Thursday: Brewster County Fire Update

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101 Ranch Fire (KRTS photo by Katherine Shaughnessy)

KRTS has been reporting on a fire that started Tuesday on the 101 Ranch, about 17 miles south of Alpine, just after the border patrol checkpoint. The fire started as a controlled burn, but a sudden whirl wind caused it to spread out of control.

This afternoon around noon, the fire was said to be 50% contained. But, as of 5 PM this evening, the fire was back down to 20% contained. The low humidity and high winds led to the growth of the fire today. So far it's consumed 2,000 acres.

The fire burned down both sides of Cienega mountain yesterday and this morning. It's now progressing to the east between Cienega mountain and Highway 118. As of this evening, Lewis Kearney, the Public Information Officer for the Texas Forest Service, said there are currently 21 structures threatened. These are in the area of the South Double Diamond Veteran's Addition.

Currently, there is no call for evacuations or word on if one will be necessary. The Brewster County Sheriff's office would make that call and manage an evacuation, if one were to become necessary.

On the ground, local fire departments from Marfa, Alpine, and Marathon have been working the fire over the past few days, along with the Texas Forest Service, and crews from Big Bend National park, including Los Diablos crew. Four fire engines were on hand today, and there are also 2 hand crews on the ground. Hand crews work to dig out 18-20 inch dirt lines that act as fire breaks. Another hand crew is coming in tomorrow from Virginia, and 2 more have been requested. Each crew consists of 20 fire fighters. Texas Forest Service believes these hand crews will be able to create enough lines to eventually contain the fire. In the air, there is one heavy air tanker, 2 helicopters, and 4 single engine air tankers fighting the blaze.

If you have any more information on this fire, please contact KRTS Marfa at 432-729-4578 so we can alert residents.