Mallard Fire in Texas reaches Highway 287

Hotshots Mallard Fire
A Hotshot crew en route to the Mallard Fire in Texas. Photo by CarrieAnn Fain.

(Originally published at 7:13 a.m. CDT May 13, 2018)

The Mallard Fire in the panhandle of Texas has been very active over the last two days and has burned a total of more than 63,000 acres. But where it has spread from rugged terrain into pastures and agricultural property firefighters have been more successful.

In two places it has approached U.S. Highway 287. Firefighters were able to stop it just before it hit the small community of Goodnight. But seven miles southeast of the town it crossed the highway and ran briefly into fields before being knocked down.

map mallard fire
Map showing the perimeter of the Mallard Fire at 9:42 p.m. CDT May 12, 2018.

On Sunday the area is just outside a Red Flag Warning area, but the weather will not be helping firefighters much today. The winds will be out of the south at 10 to 22 mph with gusts in the late afternoon reaching 29 mph. The temperature will max out at 94 while the relative humidity increases from 22 percent to 40 percent in the afternoon. There is a 38 percent chance of thunderstorms and gusty winds after 4 p.m.

Weather geeks are having a field day observing the Mallard Fire. For the last two days it has produced huge pyrocumulus clouds stretching for miles into Oklahoma. At times it has morphed into a supercell with lightning and mammatus clouds.

Over the last few years extreme fire behavior has become more “normal”. Firefighters must maintain their situational awareness. What they are used to seeing and expecting may not be, now, what actually occurs on a wildfire. Hopefully, technology that exists and has been talked about but not widely deployed, will be made available to firefighters so they can know in real time WHERE the fire is and WHERE firefighters are.

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+

2 thoughts on “Mallard Fire in Texas reaches Highway 287”

  1. Spent many a night on McLeans cemetery hill, watching SW for storms. Thankfully never had any to set off the towns storm alarm, but did see a few times that we thought it would happen. Now, they have to deal with the fires at the same time. God bless all.

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