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Wildfires Friday Evening (May 13)

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Iron Mountain Wildfire, May 12, 2011, looking from the west toward the Glass Mountain, about 20 miles north of marathonKRTS photo by Robert Flanders

KRTS spoke with Ed Brown, the spokesman for the Trans-Pecos Fire Complex team. He updated listeners on the progress of three wildfires in Far West Texas.

Highway 90 is closed between Marathon and Sanderson, due to smoky conditions.

The Iron Mountain Fire is at 50% containment and has burned 89,779 acres, significantly up from 59,010 acres yesterday. There is still a ranch up there that is threatened. Resources include 3 large helicopters, 1 small helicopter, 9 engines, 5 bulldozers, 1 water tender, 48 people, 6 single-engine planes, 3 heavy air tankers, 1 air attack plane, and 1 lead plane.

The Schwartz Fire is at 25% containment and has burned 73,640 acres. Like the Iron Mountain Fire, this has been a significant increase since yesterday, largely due to back-burning. Active areas of the blaze are on the south & east fronts. Fire-fighting resources include 20-men hand crews, 1 small helicopter, plus additional aviation resources, 10 engines, 3 dozers, and 130 people.

"Mop-up" operations continue on the Gage Holland Fire, west of Alpine. It is stable and 95% contained.

Also today, official sources have finally listed the Rock House Fire as 100% contained. It has entered the record books as the largest grassland fire in Texas history. For a radio report looking back at the opening day the Rock House Fire (Saturday April 9), listen to the state-wide program from Texas Public Radio called Texas Matters (May 13 edition).

Former KRTS/KXWT News Director