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Fire Update: Monday (May 2) 10 AM

Post-Fire Cleanup in Fort Davis, April 22, 2011.

The Rock House Fire is now 95% contained. KRTS Marfa spoke with Southern Area Incident Management Team spokesperson Denise Ottaviano this morning, and she gave a positive report on the progress of fire fighters. The expected containment date of the fire is tomorrow, May 3.

Yesterday afternoon the weather changed as forecast, bringing north winds and lower temperatures to the fire area. As a result of the wind shift, dust and ash limited visibility, especially in the Fort Davis area, but crews were able to keep the fire within containment lines despite this wind event.

Overnight, crews continued to mop up inside containment lines, seeking out and extinguishing hot spots in the interior of the fireline. This same activity will continue today. As the containment lines are improved, some crews and engines will be redeployed to other fires with immediate needs. Ottaviano said an infrared flight flown last night "just picked up a few speckles of heat within the interior of the fire."

Additionally, on Saturday The Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department, along with the Initial Attack group on the Rock House Fire, responded to a single-vehicle automobile accident on Highway 118 between Fort Davis and Alpine that started a grass fire. Their quick response extinguished what could have become another significant fire.

Jeff Davis County residents are reminded about the Burn Ban that is in effect. No outdoor burning is allowed. Charcoal grills are permissible but it is highly recommended that a water source is positioned close to the grill when in use. County Fire Marshal Stewart Billingsley would like to remind county residents that on a day with a Red Flag Warning or critical fire weather, no outdoor welding, grinding or anything that could produce a spark is allowed. Fire Marshal Billingsley stressed that homeowners are responsible for contractors that they employ. Contractors must be advised of, and adhere to, the burn ban.

Highway 118 is open. The public is urged to use caution all roads surrounding the fire due to continuing fire traffic. Davis Mountains State Park is still closed, as fire fighters are using it as a base camp. However, the park will reopen to the public on Saturday, May 7.