Tuesday May 24 2011 UPDATE: Breaking news of out-of-control range fires today in the Permian Basin area of West Texas: Midland, Andrews, Coahoma, Stanton areas. There were evacuations and road closings in North Midland today, with homes and several hotels evacuated, including the Marriotts, Sleep Inn and Residence Inn. Those needing shelter are being put up at the Horseshoe Arena and at Stonegate Fellowship Church on Wadley - I'm sure other churches have opened their doors as well.
There's a live news feed on KWES's site with continual updates.
An Andrews County wild fire has burned more than 14,000 acres, is not contained, and is moving toward Martin County (Stanton). It is being referred to as "the Derrick Fire" and CBS7 has a continually updated report with photos here. A separate fire, called "the CEED Fire" was 6 1/2 miles long and a mile wide.
For continual information on the situation with Texas fires, see the links in this post to the Texas Forest Service's site: "Governor Perry isn't the only one praying".
Please pray for rain - we could use a couple of hurricanes - and for the winds to die down. They say this is the worst drought in the 117 years they've been tracking precipitation for the state.
Here's another good article (article is better than the goofy title) on WEAA that explains why the damage caused by these range fires and the drought will reach far beyond Texas and the people immediately in the path of the inferno.
Original post Tuesday, May 10, 2011:
These photos of a new range fire were taken by my friend in far South West Texas near Alpine. It started Sunday, and the pictures were taken from her porch. The beautiful, clean mountain air is as tainted as that in California cities - but in Alpine, this is smoke from a raging wild fire, not smog from a million commuting cars.
Where I am, in Central Texas, there are small fires each few days that are so far under control. We also passed a burned area last weekend that looked like a back-burn to protect a house in event of flames running at it.
There has been a little rain, sporatic, and spotty. We got a little rain Easter, and a little more the next day with hail of mixed size, up to golf ball size, about 2 inches across, and last Sunday we got about an inch and a half. Not enough to make the green grass grow or moisten the ground so that a fire can't catch hold.
This state has seen 135 new fires just in the past week - the map doesn't look much different than the one three weeks ago. From my area all the way down to Austin, all around out West, all up in the Panhandle near Lubbock, over into Deep East Texas, the Piney Woods and the National Forests: all of Texas' wild areas, grasslands and woods are still suffering from deep drought and the resulting range fires.
Did our President look out the window when Air Force One passed over the many fires and burned areas the flight path crossed on his way to El Paso to ask Texans for money for his reelection campaign?
Or will he continue to approach Texas the same way his administration gives out tickets for White House Tours?
I'm proud of our Governor for putting his integrity and the interests of the people of the State of Texas first. He tried to reach out to President Obama long ago on the tarmac and was snubbed for his trouble.
Governor Perry tried to reach out again when Tropical Storm Hermine ravaged 40 counties - most of them inland - in our state. Then as now, the Salvation Army came through but the Obama Administration did not.
He has tried to reach out when the Obama Administration rejected his request for help fighting these fires, and was derided for seeking help.
Governor Perry is no fool. He will not play Charlie Brown to Obama's (or Valerie Jarrett's?) Lucy.