Val Verde County Fire is Coming Under Containment
On Wednesday afternoon (April 30), the large Malone fire in Val Verde County, Texas, was declared to be 75% contained. The blaze began on the afternoon of Sunday, April 27, and over the next several days burned more than 14,000 acres in a rural area between Ozona and Comstock, near the Pecos River.
Miguel Zuniga, a firefighter in Val Verde County, based in Comstock, described the difficulty in gathering resources the grassland blaze. "It was hard to call-in air support, because it's so early in the summer fire season."
At one point, there were fire brigades from six nearby communities on scene. Fire Fighter Ryan McDonald said there has been difficulty contacting the crews in the field, because the blaze has damaged telephone poles, and cellular service has been spotty.
Volunteer fire crews, assisted by the Texas Forest Service, successfully defended structures on ranch residences, including the W.O. Mills Ranch, the Dennis Roland Ranch, and the Davis Ranch. The fire came closest to the ghost town of Pandale, where residents evacuated on Tuesday night.
Texas Forest Service officials assessed the wildfire in a flyover on Wednesday and will continue to monitor the scene. The northeast and northwest corners of the blaze are the current areas of focus.
Zuniga said the blaze may have begun due to a trash fire blown out-of-control, but no official assessment has been made.
At this time, the Malone Fire is currently the largest wildfire in Texas and among the largest in the nation.