I went out this morning to view and photograph the Possum Kingdom Lake wildfire event. I was not able to see Possum Kingdom Lake because I do not have press credentials and State Highway 16 was blocked at the intersection of US 180.
Today the winds are calm, but tomorrow afternoon a Red Flag warning has been issued for west-central Texas. I drove the F-250 from our ranch north of I-20 on SH 919 to Gordon, cut west along the Schoolhouse Road north of Gordon to St. Boniface Catholic Church on Dodson Prairie. The elk behind the high field fence on the Guest Ranch appeared unharmed. After driving by St. Boniface, I turned north on SH 16 and journeyed to US 180, turning west and headed in the direction of Possum Kingdom and Breckenridge, Texas.
As I ascended the small mountains about Ioni Creek on US 180, I saw blackened trees and fence posts that had burned last night. The pasture lands were turned to cinders, but I saw no livestock affected. Hotspots of fence posts and erosion barriers emitted smoke and flames. Towards Possum Kingdom Lake, the Highway Patrol blockaded SH 16, and after a few more miles going west on US 180, I turned around and started back to the ranch.
I turned south on SH 16 towards Strawn, past Schoolhouse Road and St. Boniface and then realized why the Texas Forest Service and state officials had ordered an evacuation of Mingus and Gordon last night. The fire last evening had leapt the highway and was headed southwest towards the two villages. The Forest Service, Brazos Volunteer Fire Department and the Lone Camp Volunteers (other volunteer departments were also involved) had stopped it last night, but the frontline of combating it today and tomorrow was east of SH 16, about six miles north of Strawn. The Texas Department of Public Safety and Forest Service set up command posts in Strawn.
The winds tomorrow are forecast out of the south at 25 m.p.h. so the winds will carry any fire to the north and east. The Possum Kingdom Lake fire will not affect us. We will wait and see what else transpires when the dry line (nicknamed the Marfa Line) passes by tomorrow afternoon, lowering the humidity. Our ranch lies south of I-20 and we will be prepared for any outbreak of fire in our area. That means that we have trailers hitched, grass and lawns watered and the dogs ready to go with Star, our paint gelding.
With the exception of the sunset photograph, I have the photographs arranged in the order I traveled and time that I shot the pictures. When I came back to the house, I had to take off my coat and leave it in the utility room because it stank of smoke.
Correction: the church is St. Boniface, not St. Alban.
Changed verb conjugation: leap, leaped, leapt.
All photographs were taken NEF, uploaded JPEG. NEF file sizes ca. 10 megs., a digital negative.