Thursday, September 8, 2011

Texas Fires Still Blazing Wild. Updates From Multiple Sources Providing Resources and Information.

Texas Fire Relief Drive This Afternoon
updated 9/8/2011 11:50:01 AM ET 2011-09-08T15:50:01
CORPUS CHRISTI - Join KRIS Communications, K99, Mattress Firm, HEB, and the American Red Cross this afternoon as we collect donations to help the victims of wildfires in central Texas. From 2 - 6pm, we'll be out at the HEB Plus! at 5313 Saratoga Boulevard.

So far, some 1,400 homes have been destroyed by the fires in central Texas.

Donations of money will go a long way to help the American Red Cross assist people who have lost all of their belongings in a fire and are in need a place to stay or other help for their families.

Firefighting personnel and volunteers have requested specific items needed in their efforts to contain the fires and help those affected.

Firefighters: bottled water, Gatorade, eye drops, nasal spray, hand wipes, individually packaged snacks (peanut butter crackers, power bars, protein bars, etc.)

Volunteers: large trash bags, work gloves, nonperishable snacks, and toiletries.
Medical Supplies: Blood pressure cuffs, nebulizers, thermometers, glucose meters, pen lights, tongue depressors, ibuprofen, gauze wrap, ACE bandages, Neosporin cream, bandages and band aids, medical kits
Evacuee Supplies: sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, towels, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic utensils, deodorant, baby wipes, diapers, baby shampoo, hand sanitizer, Depends undergarments

Texas wildfire consumes hundreds more homes

Monstrous Bastrop blaze 30 percent contained as 5,000 flee flames

A monstrous fire burning southeast of Austin destroys 1,386 homes, more than any other blaze in Texas history, county officials said on Thursday.

The devastating new number — nearly triple what officials had said earlier in the week — is the county's "best estimate" of the 35,000-acre fire that's been ripping through this rural, historic community about 25 miles east of Austin since Sunday, said Bastrop County Emergency Coordinator Mike Fisher.

"This is based on everything we had in (the count) before, plus a house by house and driveway by driveway count we did last night," Fisher said.

Officials said that number is likely to increase as the count continues.

The blaze has killed two people, forced the evacuation of 5,000 and was about 30 percent contained Thursday, officials said. Active flames were behind containment lines and some residents evacuated from unburned areas were allowed to return to their homes.

Smoldering hot spots remained across the 45 square miles, but flames were inside the lines surrounding about 30 percent of the fire area, officials said.

Rudy Evenson, spokesman for an interagency team assisting the Texas Forest Service, said Thursday's major concern was wind sparking more flames beyond those boundaries.

Texas fires burn 11,000 acres on Fort Hood

A series of fires over the past three weeks have burned nearly 5 percent of the 215,000-acre Killeen-area military post Fort Hood, the Army reported on its website.

Although the fires did not threaten central buildings of the base, Fort Hood soldiers are no longer training in the outer areas affected by fires, and military families are being encouraged to be prepared in case they spread.
From the story:
Since Aug. 19, three separate fires ignited on the ranges, burning 11,380 combined acres, and as of Sept. 6, a fire continued to burn at Jack Mountain.

“I flew over and visited the Jack Mountain range areas today,” said Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general. “Fire Chief Billy J. Rhoads showed me the areas affected by the fires; currently the Department of Emergency Services and the Fort Hood Fire Department have the area 60-percent contained.”

While personnel and the main cantonment area weren’t threatened by the flames, concerns elevated across the installation Labor Day as 20 mph winds blew smoke and ash toward housing areas.

“We’ve had crews out here 24/7, if not working on the fire, monitoring to make sure that it’s not spreading,” said Lacey Eide, public information officer, Fort Hood Department of Emergency Services, or DES.

Fort Hood DES, Directorate of Public Works, Soldiers and the Texas Forestry Service have been battling the blazes with helicopters, bulldozers, graders, water tankers and additional ground support vehicles.

The Pilot Knob Fire, which started Aug. 19, burned 1,500 acres and was contained Aug. 23. The Robinette Fire, which began Aug. 20, burned 6,180 acres before it was contained Aug. 23.

The Jack Mountain Fire began Aug. 30, and was 75-percent contained Sept. 4 after burning 3,000 acres, but high winds re-ignited hot spots, leading to an additional 700 acres of damage. As of Sept. 6, it was 60 percent contained.
For the full article and photos of the burning base, visit

NASA has captured video and still images of the Texas wildfires from space.

The images were relayed back to earth by a satellite and astronauts on the International Space Station, including a Texas native.

Astronaut Mike Fossum, who was raised in McAllen, Texas, and graduated from both Texas A&M University and the University of Houston-Clear Lake, posted one of the images by request via Twitter.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected,” Fossum tweeted from the space station.

Fossum had asked Mission Control to update him about the fires, which have raged over thousands of acres in Central Texas since Sunday.

"Did you guys confirm that the state park Bastrop is one of the directly affected areas with the fire in that region?" Fossum asked from space on Tuesday.

"Yes Mike, unfortunately that's true," Jay Marschke replied from Houston. "The news agencies are reporting up to two-thirds of the park has been burned and hundreds of homes in the area have been destroyed."
"Wow, that's rough news,” Fossum said. “We're really thinking about all those folks through there."

Nicole Cloutier, a spokeswoman for flight crew operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston, said Fossum knew the Bastrop area well because of trips he's taken to the area as a Boy Scout leader and his years at nearby A&M.

"He has done tons of backpacking and hiking throughout the state and Bastrop is one of the most popular parks," she said. "It's just a very special place close to his heart. I think this is just affecting him personally."
On Thursday, as the space station flew directly over Bastrop, she said Fossum was in a module, looking down.

"He could see the burn in the land," Cloutier said. "It's nearly impossible to see something like that and not be affected by it. Almost all the astronauts, we hear them say after their flights that once you see the Earth from space, you realize the fragility of the planet."

Fossum’s crewmate Ron Garan, also tweeted about the fires.

"Prayers for those in harm's way," Garan tweeted Tuesday. Garan also posted a series of photos of the fires.
Smoke from some of the fires is also visible in an image captured Tuesday by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite.

Several plumes of smoke are visible in the lower center and left. The rounded mass of clouds on the right are the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

The largest plume in the lower center part of the image is from the Bear Creek fire that started Sunday and was raging over 14,000 acres in East Texas

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