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Wildfires Thursday May 12 Noon Update

Evacuating cattle from the Schwartz Fire, east of Marathon, May 9, 2011, 6 PM, photo courtesy of Vicky Sambunaris

As KRTS reported last hour, Highway 90 is closed between Sanderson and Marathon, due to smoky conditions from fire-fighting operations and back-burning at the Schwartz Fire.

On the Schwartz Fire, officials have employed 2 hand crews, 9 fire engines, 3 bulldozers, and 96 personnel. The North Carolina team battling this fire will be rotating out for a team from Tennessee over the next few days. This fire is considered only 25% contained.

The Iron Mountain Fire, northwest of Marathon, has 61 personnel on site, with 2 helicopters (both large and small), 9 brush fire engines, and 5 bulldozers, and 1 water tender. This fire is 25% contained. Yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, between 11am to 4pm, the fire grew considerably from 15,675 acres to 36,383 acres.

On both the Iron Mountain and Schwartz fires, operations today will include air-attacks, constructing fire breaks with bulldozers, and "mopping up" - in which fire fighters make certain fires are completely out.

The Gage Holland Fire, west of Alpine, grew yesterday from 4,550 to 5,975 acres. This change is due re-mapping the fire, and taking in account a burnout operation conducted on May 9. Fire fighters continue to monitor containment lines, and as necessary, "mop up" any hotspots. The active portion of the fire is up in the mountains.

Safer weather in Brewster County - in regard to fire conditions - is predicted for today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday).

Two smaller fires in the Permian Basin yesterday, included the Smith Ranch Three (50 acres) and Guitar Number Two (20 acres).

Former KRTS/KXWT News Director