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McDannald Ranch Fire Still Burning in Davis Mountains

By Tuesday night, the McDannald ranch fire has affected 12,000 acres. This is the view from Highways 166 and 505. (Photo by Joe Williams)

A wildfire that's believed to have been started by lightning strike early Monday morning on McDannald Ranch, west of Brown Mountain in Jeff Davis County, is still burning.

Wednesday, May 2, 7:30 AM UPDATE: There is no formal evacuation order for residents of the Davis Mountains Resort. But fire officials in Jeff Davis County are encouraging residents to evacuate if they feel uncomfortable.

Crews will be in the DMR neighborhood today, setting up protective measures.

Tuesday May 1, 7:36 PM UPDATE: The McDannald fire is now estimated at 12,000 acres, according to Texas A&M Forest Service. The fire is now 15 percent contained.

Tuesday May 1 @ 2:00 PM UPDATE: This afternoon, the Texas Forest Service updated the McDannald Ranch Fire at 10,000 acres, 10 percent contained.

Responders's first priority remains monitoring the Davis Mountains Resort area, though it is not currently threatened. Officials expect the fire to grow before they can contain it.

A Texas Forest Service Type Two Incident Management team has arrived on the ground to coordinate - they will be taking over the emergency management coordination. There is an order out for a Type One Incident Team, which is typically reserved for larger more complex fires.

Volunteer firefighters from Marfa and Fort Davis are currently fighting the fire alongside a Georgia-based strike crew and the Texas Forest Service. Three single engine air tankers, or SEATS, 2 heavy air tankers and one Air TAC are fighting the fire aerially.

The Fort Davis Fire Department says the western side of the fire has crossed the Livermore Ranch and Kelly Ranch Road.

It's in the same area that burned in 2012 during the Livermore Ranch Complex Fire.

On of Monday night, officials estimated the fire to be affecting around 6,000 acres of grassland in the Davis Mountains area.

Ground crews who returned to the scene Tuesday morning are working to contain the eastern flank of the fire. They are trying to hold the fire to the west of the ridge line between Brown and Paradise Mountains and Mount Livermore.

Fort Davis Fire Department spokesperson Jim Fowler says crews' priorities Tuesday are to protect the Davis Mountains Resort and Crows Nest neighborhoods.

"This is very rugged terrain, so it will be very tough for us to fight," says Fowler.

Volunteer Fire Departments from Fort Davis, Valentine, and Marfa responded Monday alongside Texas Forest Service crews, who continue to fight the fire aerially from single-engine air tankers.

Residents of the Davis Mountains Resort are reporting smokey conditions. Jim Fowler says no homes appear to be in danger at this time.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect until 10pm Tuesday night. Dry and windy conditions may make the fire more difficult to contain.

Sally Beauvais is a reporter at Marfa Public Radio.