Texas wildfires, the rest of the story

Today we had two articles on Wildfire Today about the siege of fires in Texas, one that concentrated on the Bastrop fire in which 600 homes burned, and another on the rest of the fires in the state. Tomorrow we’ll have new articles and maps which will update the situation, but tonight we will wrap up today’s coverage with a few miscellaneous stories about the Texas fires:

Deaths in the fires

On Monday media outlets reported that two people had died in the fires, but Tuesday in his live press conference Texas Governor Rick Perry said that no one had died. CNN reported on Tuesday that a woman and her 18-month old child died on Sunday when their home was engulfed in flames near Gladewater. CNN is also reporting that two more people were reported on Tuesday to have died in a fire near Austin. Little information was given out by incident management personnel, except that the two latest victims were not public safety personnel. MYSA reports that these last two victims died in the Bastrop fire. It appears the known death total is four, but that number could rise after the 700-1,000 burned homes are searched.

Texas cuts the budget for the Texas Forest Service

The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas has reduced the budget for the Texas Forest Service from $117.7 million to $83 million for the new fiscal year which began September 1, 2011. Interesting timing.

FEMA authorizes additional funds for Texas wildfires

Seven additional Fire Management Assistance Grants have been approved to help fight the Texas wildfires, bringing the total FMAGs for Texas to 52 so far in 2011. These grants make it possible for the federal government to pay up to 75 percent of the state and local government’s eligible firefighting costs.

Elite team to search for more bodies in Texas wildfires

A 100-member search team, Texas Task Force 1, has been activated to comb through the area burned in the Bastrop fire to determine if there were any additional fatalities. Texas Task Force 1 was deployed to New York City for the 9/11 attacks and to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

DC-10 heads to Texas

One of the DC-10 air tankers, which drops 11,600 gallons of retardant, was scheduled to arrive at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night. On Twitter, 10 Tanker Air Carrier said: “Thank you all for your support, we hope we can do even more to finish off these fires!”

Record numbers visit WildfireToday.com

Today we had so many people visiting the site that at times it was not able to handle the traffic. Sometimes the pages only partially loaded or they would not load at all . As of 9 p.m. we have served up over 100,000 page views today, and that’s with some people not being able to view anything. We apologize for any inconvenience. Tonight we discussed the situation with our site hosting provider and doubled the site’s capacity.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Texas wildfires, the rest of the story”

  1. I have also been evacuated due to the Union Chapel fire, and have been extremely frustrated the last few days about the LACK of information. The local news channels just play the same old clips over and over again, and only seem interested giving camera time to the Steiner Ranch fire, where the really expensive homes are. It is impossible to get any current information – where the fire is, possible trajectory, neighborhoods threatened, etc. The only notice most people are getting is when they get a knock on the door or a Sheriff on a bull horn telling them to get out because the fire is right down the road. With todays technology, shouldn’t we be able to access information a little easier than it has been so far? Where EXACTLY is this fire?

  2. This is how you know that your SEO is working right 🙂 On a texas started search for “Texas fires 2011 map” you were one of the top 5. good job!

    Regarding the fire, i’m in houston myself and rather nervous about what may happen. My grass is brittle and dry like hay, and even a burning cigarette makes me nervous.

    This is NOT normal for us! Its usually super we this time a year. Weather its “global warming” , a trend shift, or maybe the earth itself just running its natural course, something is DEFINITELY different, and its rather scary how it ends up showing this.


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