We spoke today with Nick Harrison, Texas Firewise Coordinator, with the Texas A&M Forest Service, and he shared an update on current fires in the Texas Panhandle.
The Double Diamond wildfire that broke out on Sunday, May 11, 2014, near Lake Meredith and the town of Fritch, remained at 85% contained at 2,583 acres. Resources from the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Fritch Fire Department, Hutchinson County EMC and Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service, along with multiple area fire departments continued to work to finish containment lines, monitor, and mop-up hot spots on the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Assessment work continues to determine home & outbuildings lost, damaged and survived.
Harrison stressed that, "it’s not if a wildfire will strike but when, as evidenced by this latest wildfire in the Texas Panhandle”. He noted that the drought continues to impact the wildland fuels in Texas, especially in the western half of the state and that despite recent rains in the eastern half of the state, the drought continues and without continued rains the summer heat will impact these fuels as well.
Harrison recommends that residents utilize Firewise practices to create defensible space to reduce the threat of wildfire to their homes and property.
For additional information on how to create defensible space around your home and in your community, please log on to www.texasfirewise.org.
Texas has 66 Firewise Communities, which include the Texas Panhandle communities of the City of Borger, in Hutchinson County, and the Village of Palisades, in Randall County. Harrison highlighted that both of these communities have taken a proactive approach to protecting their residents and communities, through becoming a NFPA recognized Firewise Community.
For updates on the fire, Harrison shared these valuable links from the Texas A&M Forest Service:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/txforestservice and