Mesquite Heat Fire burns 20 homes southwest of Abilene, Texas

Updated 2:02 p.m. CDT May 22, 2022

Map of the Mesquite Heat Fire in Texas
Map of the Mesquite Heat Fire in Texas. The red line was the perimeter at 9:14 p.m. May 21, 2022. The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours before.

The Incident Management Team on the Mesquite Heat Fire 7 miles southwest of Abilene, Texas reports that it has burned 11,256 acres. The increase is due to more accurate mapping.

Active, open flame was reported Saturday morning on the eastern side of the fire although fire intensity was low. Minimal fire behavior is expected Sunday. However, fuels remain extremely dry and could support some moderate, low intensity growth.

Fire authorities have revised the number of homes destroyed from 27 to 20, with another 7 outbuildings destroyed.

Firefighters are focusing on the uncontained firelines along the north, west, and southern edges of the fire, assisted by heavy equipment.

Saturday at 8 a.m. the Southern Area Incident Management Gold Team assumed command led by Incident Commander Dave Martin and in unified command with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

10:35 a.m. CDT May 21, 2022

Map of Mesquite Heat Fire
Map of Mesquite Heat Fire May 20, 2022.

The Mesquite Heat Fire has destroyed approximately 27 homes 7 miles southwest of Abilene, Texas. Since it started May 17 alongside Highway 277 it has burned 7 miles to the northeast, consuming 9,613 acres during extreme weather conditions —  temperature of 107 degrees, 10 percent relative humidity, and winds gusting to 30 mph.

Firefighters aided by aircraft kept it from spreading significantly Friday as unburned pockets of fuel flared up in the interior. Crews continued to construct containment line along the perimeter of the fire with a heavy focus on the southern flank in preparation for the predicted winds out of the north Saturday morning.

The Southern Geographic Area Incident Management Team #2 (Gold Team) is assigned. Resources on the fire Friday evening included 15 fire engines and 1 helicopter for a total of 59 personnel.

Friday evening evacuations were still in place with limited access for Country Place South to FM 89, South of FM 1235, Hillside Rd, Denton Valley Rd, Braune Rd and CR 297.

US Highway 277 reopened Friday night. The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook, “Several guardrails are only laying on the ground and reflective striping may not be visible or still present due to fire damage.”

Mesquite Heat Fire
Mesquite Heat Fire southwest of Abilene, TX, posted May 18, 2022 by Texas Forest Service.