McDannald Fire is very active west of Fort Davis, Texas

Above: 3D map of the McDannald Fire showing the approximate perimeter at 4:23 a.m. CDT May 2, 2018.

(Originally published at 10:55 a.m. CDT May 2, 2018)

The McDannald Fire 13 miles west of Fort Davis, Texas was very active Tuesday and early Wednesday morning. Pushed by 10 to 20 mph winds out of the south and southwest it spread to within a mile west of Tomahawk Trail on the east side of the fire.

Our very unofficial estimate based on heat detections Wednesday morning by a satellite put it at about 18,000 acres. Most if not all of the fire is north of Highway 166.

Officials estimate that 400 homes are threatened. Evacuations are ongoing in the Davis Mountain Resort community.

The area is under a Red Flag Warning Wednesday for strong southwest winds of 16 to 30 mph gusting above 40 mph along with relative humidity in the mid-teens. These conditions could be conducive to the fire continuing to spread to the northeast toward Davis Mountain Resort. The McDonald Observatory is 8 miles northeast of the fire.

Map of the McDannald Fire
Map of the McDannald Fire showing the approximate perimeter at 4:23 a.m. CDT May 2, 2018.

The Texas Forest Service reports that lightning started the fire on Monday. A Type 1 Incident Management Team with Incident Commander Mike Dueitt is mobilizing.

McDannald Fire, April 30, 2018
McDannald Fire, April 30, 2018. Texas Forest Service photo.

86-year old firefighter killed in water tender rollover

The accident occurred near Overton, Texas.

A firefighter with the New London Fire Department in Texas died after the water tender they were using to respond to a vegetation fire rolled over near Overton, Texas. The U. S. Fire Administration released the following information:

Firefighter M.V. Hudson was injured in a fire tender (tanker) crash on the evening of February 28th. Hudson and two other firefighters were responding to a grass fire when the apparatus left the right side of the roadway and rolled over, badly damaging the cab and injuring all three occupants. The three firefighters had to be extracted from the vehicle and were rushed to the hospital. Two firefighters were subsequently released, but Firefighter Hudson died while in the hospital on March 10, 2018.

Mr. Hudson had 45 years of firefighting service and was 86 years old.

Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, and co-workers.

Texas firefighters need fire department shirts

This message was distributed by Firefighter Close Calls August 30, requesting that it be passed along. If every fire station could send one shirt, that could have an impact.

This is a immediate request for unused fire/rescue/EMS department or company t-shirts of any and all sizes to be distributed to Texas Firefighters (and their families) who have suffered property losses. The shirts will provide them with something new to wear after losing so much, and it also allows them to wear the logo of those departments, locals, associations and fire companies that were able to help.

If your fire department, EMS or rescue squad, association or local is able to help, by sending some of YOUR DEPARTMENT T-SHIRTS, please send them to:

Fire Shirts
c/o Texas State Fire Marshals Office
333 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78701

The t-shirts will be provided specifically to firefighters, EMT’s and medics who have suffered losses over the last few days. This is the same that was done for Firefighters impacted by Katrina and it was very helpful and appreciated.

Take Care. be Careful. Pass It On.

The Secret List 8/30/2017-1730 Hours

New documentary chronicles March wildfires across Midwest ranchland

A new documentary published online last week chronicles the terror and heartbreak ranchers faced in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas when wind-swept fires tore through their communities in March.

Titled “Fire in the Heartland,” the 16-minute film includes interviews with fire personnel and ranchers about the firestorm that ripped through the prairie lands. The video is the latest enterprise work to come out of the disaster — this New York Times piece also detailed some of the tragedy.

And here’s an excerpt about the fire from

The wildfires tore through cattle country, feasting on grasses made dry by long-term drought and exacerbated by recent warm weather.  Once the fires were started, strong winds whipped the flames, helping them spread more rapidly. According to Reuters, a wildfire in Texas during the beginning of March moved at speeds up to 70mph as it raced across the Texas Panhandle. By the third week of March, the fires had killed at least seven people—not to mention thousands of livestock—and burned more than 2 million acres.

Prescribed fire video from Texas

Above: screen shot from the video.

The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife has distributed a six-minute video about prescribed fire with an interesting title: The Business of Burning. It is beautifully photographed and is apparently intended to introduce good fire to those who are unfamiliar with the concept.

Some may think the repeated use of the term “grunt” to describe young firefighters is politically incorrect.

Chris Schenck, the department’s Statewide Fire Program Leader, said the video has been in production for a year. Their goal is each year to treat with prescribed fire 30,000 acres of Public Lands Wildlife Management Areas.

Prescribed fire along Rio Grande River

Above: photo of prescribed fire along the Rio Grande River supplied by the National Park Service.

Big Bend National Park in southern Texas conducted a prescribed burn along the Rio Grande River earlier this month in cooperation with Mexico. The objective was to burn out invasive river cane and promote a healthier river ecosystem.

A year ago we wrote about how the park cooperates with Mexico, borrowing their firefighters to assist with wildfires and prescribed fires.

Los Diablos
Screen Grab from The Atlantic’s documentary about a fire crew from Mexico that assists a U.S. National Park.