Strong winds and low humidities from Tropical Storm Lee without the benefit of any rain have created conditions ripe for wildfires in Texas. The Texas Forest Service is reporting that approximately 429 homes have been destroyed in the 38 large fires that are currently burning.
On Sunday Texas mobilized additional National Guard Blackhawk helicopters and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams as well as a heavy airtanker from South Dakota. At this time dozens of firefighting aircraft are being used, including four heavy airtankers, 15 single-engine airtankers, 12 helicopters, and 13 aerial supervision aircraft. A Type 1 incident management team has been requested to assist with the Bastrop County Complex.
The strong winds are expected to continue over the east half or more of the state along with drier relative humidities into the 10 to 20 percent range across much of the state. High temperatures will be in the upper 70s to lower 80s over a large portion of North Texas to near 100 over Deep South Texas near the Mexico border. The stronger winds are expected to weaken over most of the state Monday night.
The image above is a screen capture from a video of a fire near Spicewood, Texas.
Below is information about the 10 largest fires in Texas, provided by the Texas Forest Service, September 5:
BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 14,000 acres, no containment. Heavy airtankers and single-engine airtankers assisted on this fire that started in the Lost Pines area just northeast of Bastrop. The fire has moved unchecked for at least 16 miles to the south and has jumped the Colorado River twice. The Circle D, K.C. Estates, Pine Forest, Colovista and Tahitian Village subdivision have been evacuated. Firefighters are trying to hold the fire at FM 2571. Reports indicate possibly 300 homes have been destroyed. MODIS satellite image indicates the fire has jumped Highway 95 and is approximately 25,000 acres.
STEINER RANCH, Travis County. 150 acres, no containment. The fire started just north of the Steiner Ranch subdivision. More than 1,000 homes are under mandatory evacuation in Steiner Ranch. At least 25 homes are reported lost. A Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System strike team responded.
PEDERNALES BEND, Travis County. 7,000 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning four miles southeast of Spicewood. Twenty homes were lost, 30 homes damaged.
HENDERSON #495, Henderson County. 5,000 acres, unknown containment. Three homes were saved.
#491, Limestone County. 3,000 acres, unknown containment. Six homes were saved and one was lost on this fire 20 miles east of Waco.
DELHI, Caldwell County. 1,000 acres, 10 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved and six were lost on this fire east of Lockhart.
BAILEY, Colorado County. 1,000 acres, unknown containment. This fast-moving fire threatened 40 homes near Columbus. Blackhawks, single-engine airtankers and a heavy airtanker assisted.
MOORE, Smith County. 927 acres, 5 percent contained. Ten homes were evacuated and five were lost on this fire burning on the Smith/Gregg County line. Two civilian fatalities were reported.
#545, Upshur County. 500 acres, 50 percent contained. One hundred homes were saved; none lost. The fire is burning East of Gilmer.
LUTHERHILL, Fayette County. 2,000 acres, unknown containment. The community of Ruttersville was evacuated. Seven homes are reported lost.
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