Breckenridge Texan

Rain relief to be short-lived; high levels of fire danger return by midweek

Rain relief to be short-lived; high levels of fire danger return by midweek
March 21
11:02 2022

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Although Stephens County and much of the surrounding area is getting some precipitation today, the rain will lower the fire danger level only slightly for a day or two. By Wednesday, the fire danger will be back to “Very High,” according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

After wildfires devastated several areas in Eastland County on Thursday and Friday of last week, the winds died down some on Saturday and firefighters were able to get some of the fires under control. However, Sunday brought continued dry weather and high winds, and several new wildfires popped up, including one between Cisco and Eastland that sent smoke drifting into Stephens County.

The Texas Wildfire Incident Response System shows 74 wildfires in Texas today with most of the still-active fires in Eastland County.

According to various reports, on Sunday, there were wildfires burning in Eastland, Young, Erath, Hood, Brown, Taylor, Howard, Archer, Wichita, Jack and Parker counties. The community of Carbon in central Eastland County reportedly had 142 structures, including outbuildings, destroyed by fire on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, Stephens County fire departments, including the Breckenridge Fire Department, Hubbard Creek VFD, Wayland VFD, Caddo VFD, Strawn VFD, Palo Pinto VFD and the Eliasville VFD, battled a wildfire on the Link Ranch in the southeastern portion of the county. The BFD reported that 150-200 acres burned in that fire, which was contained by early Friday morning.

Additionally, the local fire departments have assisted in fighting some of the other area fires.

Many people have donated bottled water, food, clothing and other items to the victims of the fires, as well as to the fire departments. A post on the “Stephens County, Texas” Facebook page also encourages donations to local volunteer fire departments, which can use the following items: monetary donations for fuel and maintenance, bottled water, Gatorade, Liquid I.V. hydration products, Replenish eye drops (single use containers) and ChapStick.

On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott visited Eastland and signed a disaster declaration for 11 counties, including Eastland, Brown, Coleman and Comanche counties in this area.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) encourages citizens affected by these extreme events to report damage to property through the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) damage survey. The details provided in the survey assist emergency management officials across the state gain an understanding of damages sustained and help officials determine if the state meets federal requirements for various forms of disaster assistance, as well as identify needs for immediate resources such as food and shelter.

“Sharing information through the iSTAT damage survey provides critical details to emergency management officials at the local and state levels about the extent of damage that has occurred during this wildfire outbreak,” said Texas Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. “Texans can help the damage assessment process by uploading photos and including pertinent details about any losses.”

The iSTAT damage survey can be filled out in English and Spanish online by visiting damage.tdem.texas.gov and clicking on Wildfire Outbreak March 17th.

Reporting damage through iSTAT surveys is a voluntary activity and is not a substitute for reporting damage to your insurance agency. It does not guarantee disaster relief assistance, according to a news release issued Sunday.

Wildfire resources for Texans can be accessed on the TDEM website at tdem.texas.gov.

(Click to enlarge)

 

Cutline, top photo: Smoke from the Blowing Basin Fire (Eastland Complex) billows across Eastland County on March 20, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Weldon Dent/TAMFS)

 


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