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.

Mallard Fire burns over 30,000 acres southeast of Amarillo, Texas

Above:  GOES 16 satellite image of the Mallard Fire at 3:22 p.m. CDT May 11, 2018.

(Updated at 8:08 p.m. CDT May 11, 2018)

The time-lapse video below is mesmerizing!!


(Originally published at 4:37 p.m. CDT May 11, 2018)

A large wildfire is moving through Armstrong County in the Texas panhandle 32 miles southeast of Amarillo and 18 miles southwest of Clarendon. Friday afternoon the Texas Forest Service said it had burned approximately 34,000 acres.

On Thursday the Summer Field Fire merged with the Mallard Fire. Large air tankers, SEATs, and helicopters have been working the fire since Wednesday. A very large air tanker was ordered Thursday.

Mallard fire map
Heat detected by a satellite over the Mallard Fire in the Texas panhandle. The most recent, the red dots, are from 3:13 a.m. CDT May 11, 2018.

The photo below is from Friday:

Below is a photo from Thursday:

The fire is putting up a huge column of smoke and is creating a large pyrocumulus cloud blowing off to the east.

McDannald Fire mapped at 22,000 acres

The fire is 13 miles west of Fort Davis, Texas.

Above: Map of the McDannald Fire showing the approximate perimeter early Thursday morning May 3, 2018.

(Originally published at 8:43 a.m. CDT May 3, 2018)

The McDannald Fire in western Texas slowed Wednesday and officials were able to lift the voluntary evacuations that were in effect for the Davis Mountain Resort area.

A mapping flight at about 2 a.m. Thursday estimated the fire had burned 22,053 acres.

Jeff Davis County released the following information Wednesday evening:

With the cooler temperatures and higher humidity today the McDannald Fire has shown minimal fire growth. The east side of Paradise Ridge has little fire activity at this time and the head of the fire appears to be north of the Davis Mountain Resort.

Given these conditions, the County Judge and County EMC will lift the voluntary evacuation order at 8:00 PM this evening. Residents will be allowed back in after that time.

We appreciate the cooperation of all residents. Your actions allowed the structure crews in the Davis Mountain Resort to perform their work with minimal trouble.

map of the McDannald Fire 3d wildfire
3D map of the McDannald Fire showing the approximate perimeter early Thursday morning May 3, 2018.

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