Tag Archives: Possum Kingdom State Park

Local news links to Possum Kingdom Complex fire in Texas 19 APR 11

Lone Camp Volunteer Department Fire truck, US Forest Service auxillary, at idle north of Strawn, Texas, after fighting SH 16 west fires.

The following local news links have detail about the Possum Kingdom Complex fire:

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Wildfires-Burn-700000-Acres-Federal-Help-Sought-120070209.html — NBC5i in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/04/18/3009662/20-more-homes-burn-at-possum-kingdom.html — Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Our county, Erath, and neighboring counties are under a Red Flag Extreme Fire Weather alert for today.  Risks are very high until late afternoon early evening when a cold front will move through the area.  Shifting winds may be a problem.  Temperatures may reach 102 deg.  Winds, however, should not be as high as they have been in the last few days, say, 15-20 m.p.h.

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Hot spots and Possum Kingdom Lake wildfire 16 APR 11

US Highway 180, south of Possum Kingdom Lake

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.

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Notes:

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.

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Fire near Possum Kingdom Lake 15 APR 11

Smoke from Possum Kingdom Lake fire, MM 373, I-20, Mingus, Texas

Today is a bad day, a tragic day for our area in west-central Texas.  A firefighter has been killed in fighting a fire near Gorman, Texas, about thirty-five miles west of us.

Our place is not in danger from the uncontrolled fires.  Last Sunday we had nine-tenths of an inch of rain so there has been some moisture about the grass and trees.  Not so north and west of us a few miles.  I have the F-250 at the ready to hitch the horse trailer and take our livestock out of the area.  In DeLeon, Texas, close to Gorman where the fire took the life of the firefighter, they have set up large stock pens for cattle, sheep and horses to be maintained.  Local feed stores, farmers and ranchers have donated hay.

If necessary, I will drive to the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery area for Star to be stabled.

There are at least four fires in the immediate area north and west of us.  Today we have had the highest sustained wind for the year at about 34 m.p.h. and gusts over 55 m.p.h.  The Texas Highway Patrol has closed State Highway north of Strawn, Texas, a nearby village to us.

State Highway 16 closed by Texas Highway Patrol.

I had to run an errand to Mingus Quick Stop and I took these photographs of the sky and smoke.  The fire is approximately sixty miles away from where I took these pictures.  The smell is pungent and eyes burn.  My wife, Brenda, drove to Abilene this afternoon to attend a conference and fires were also breaking out west of Cisco.  Even within the pickup, she reported burning eyes from the smoke.

Facing northeast, MM 374, I-20, Possum Kingdom Fire, Mingus, Texas

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