A wildfire in Jeff Davis County over the weekend is said to be caused by a combination of lightning, dry vegetation and elevated temperatures. The Texas A&M Forest Service has contained the wildfire, according to a press release Monday.
The forest service said the area experienced temperatures in the upper 80s, sustained winds of 15-25 mph and low relative humidity. The critical fire weather played a major role in the size of the wildfire as the wind quickly caused the flames to jump the containment line.
“Anytime sustained winds reach 20-30mph, with higher gusts, it makes battling the blaze much harder because the head of the fire is moving at an accelerated speed,” Juan Acuna, Texas A&M Forest Service meteorologist said.
Because of the forecast for increased fire potential in the Trans Pecos, Texas A&M Forest Service had positioned its Trans Pecos task force to Fort Davis in advance. On Sunday morning, the crew received a request for assistance on the Willow Springs Fire that started late Saturday night.
“Volunteer firefighters had responded to numerous lightning fires over the past two days, prior to the Willow Springs Fire,” said Jeff Meiner, Texas A&M Forest Service assistant chief regional fire coordinator. “I believe our rapid response and initial containment efforts helped tremendously in containing the fire and gave the volunteers extra support.”
The Texas A&M Forest Service responded with a seven-member team, two UTVs and a Type 6 engine.
“Due to the tough terrain, and minimal impact suppression tactics, dozer operations were not suitable and burn outs were conducted along the road and trail to contain the fire. We utilized UTVs outfitted with portable tanks to use on hot spots and to help mop up,” Meiner said.
According to the release, the forest service crew worked in conjunction with fire departments from Brewster and Jeff Davis counties and local ranchers.
Trans Pecos experienced the peak of their wildfire season over the weekend. Current forecasts show elevated fire risk to continue throughout Monday and Tuesday, but wildfire potential should decrease throughout the week.
Learn more about how Texas A&M Forest Service determines fire danger and wildfire potential on the Texas Interagency Coordination Center website.