Powerline Fire burns near headquarters of Big Bend National Park

Powerline Fire map 2-5-2016

(UPDATED at 7:35 p.m. CST February 5, 2015)

Big Bend National Park reports that the 1,792-acre Powerline Fire is 98 percent contained. They will begin demobilizing firefighting resources Saturday.

****

(UPDATED at 5:42 p.m. CST February 4, 2016)

Below is an updated satellite map of the Powerline Fire in Big Bend National Park in south Texas.

Map Powerline Fire 148 pm CST 2-4-2016
Map showing heat detected by a satellite (the red squares) on the Powerline Fire at 1:48 p.m. CST February 4, 2016. The fire appears to be spreading toward the southwest.  Some areas of the fire, especially east of the road, burned and cooled between satellite over flights, and were not detected. The park headquarters and employee housing area can be seen north of the fire.

****

(UPDATED at 10:55 CST, February 4, 2016)

Powerline Fire
Poweline Fire in Big Bend National Park, the afternoon of February 3, 2016. NPS photo.

Better mapping has revealed that the Powerline Fire in Big Bend National Park in south Texas had burned 1,537 acres as of 5 p.m. CST on Wednesday, which is a revision of the earlier estimate of 1,995 acres.

Late on Wednesday the park reported that the fire had approached the southern side of the road between Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village, but it had not jumped the road since Monday February 1st and there was no active fire on the north side of the road.

Powerline Fire map
Map of the Powerline Fire for the February 4 operational period. Park Headquarters and the employee housing area are just northwest of the fire. NPS.

Powerline Fire
Powerline Fire on February 3, 2016. Park headquarters and the employee housing area are in the foreground. NPS photo.

****

(UPDATED at 11:30 a.m. CST February 3, 2016)

As of Tuesday at 5 p.m. the Powerline Fire in Big Bend National Park in south Texas had burned 1,995 acres as it continues to spread into more rugged terrain.

The threat to the employee housing area and other structures has diminished. More firefighting resources are expected to arrive Wednesday evening.

****

(UPDATED at 9 p.m. CST, February 2, 2016)

At about 7 p.m. CST on Tuesday Big Bend National Park reported that the wildfire in the park, now named Powerline, began spreading again Tuesday afternoon moving into terrain that is more inaccessible after being relatively quiet earlier in the day. The Southwest Area Coordination Center has processed orders for one Type 2 hand crew and one Type 3 helicopter. The Park estimates the fire has burned about 1,000 acres as of mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Powerline Fire aerial photo
An aerial photo of the Poweline Fire, looking southeast, burning in Big Bend National Park on Tuesday February 2. The Panther Junction housing community and Headquarters are in the foreground. NPS photo.
map of Powerline Fire 226pm 2-2-2016
The red and orange squares represent the approximate location of heat detected by a satellite at 2:26 p.m. CST February 2, 2016, with red being the most current. The satellite did not detected the portion of the fire east of Park Rt. 12 probably because the light fuels burned and cooled between satellite overflights. Map created by Wildfire Today with Google Earth. Click to enlarge.

****

(UPDATED at 12:28 a.m. CST, February 2, 2016)

A fire that started at about 5 p.m. on Monday has burned approximately 500 acres in Big Bend National Park in south Texas. The likely cause is a power line that failed during strong winds.

The fire has burned on both sides of Park Route 12 about a mile south and east of the Panther Junction Park Headquarters which has numerous administrative structures and residences.

map fire big bend NP 2-2-2016
The red squares represent the approximate location of heat detected by a satellite at 3:09 a.m. CST February 2, 2016. It is likely that the fire is larger than represented here (especially toward the east). The light fuels may have burned and cooled between satellite overflights. Map created in 3-D by Wildfire Today with Google Earth. Click to enlarge.

At 10:40 a.m. CST park spokesperson David Elkowitz said as far as he knew the fire was no longer spreading but vegetation is still burning inside the perimeter.

For a while electrical power was out at Park HQ but it was later restored.

Panther Junction fire
Charred Pitaya cactus in the burn area. NPS photo.

The road from Panther Junction to Rio Grande Village is now open to non-emergency traffic, but vehicles are not allowed to stop in the burned area. Power has been cut to Rio Grande Village as a precaution while the fire moves east.

The weather Tuesday is more favorable for the firefighters due to cooler temperatures and higher humidity, but the fire danger remains high.

Approximately 35 firefighters from the National Park Service are assigned to the fire. The park’s fixed wing plane has assisted crews by providing information about the movement of the fire.

All photos were provided by the National Park Service.

Park Service structural fire crew wets down structures near Panther Junction. NPS photo.
A Park Service structural fire crew wets down structures near Panther Junction. NPS photo.

Panther Junction Fire

Panther Junction fire

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+