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"Perfect Storm" of Wildfires

Natural disasters Texas wildfires 2011

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#1 Jazzer


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:09 PM

The wildfires in Texas have really been bad:



April 17, 2011 10:42 p.m. EDT

Official: Texas crews rush to fend off 'perfect storm for wildfires'

Faced with some of driest conditions Texas has seen in nearly a century, firefighters around the state are struggling to fight off what a forest service official on Sunday called the "perfect storm for wildfires."

April Saginor, a spokeswoman with the Texas Forest Service, said crews were having difficulty getting hundreds of blazes under control due to a rare combination of strong winds, unseasonably warm temperatures and low humidity. Conditions this spring are the driest they've been in Texas since 1917, she claimed.

Authorities have responded to 7,807 fires across more than 1.5 million acres since this year's wildfire season began, Gov. Rick Perry wrote in a letter late Saturday to President Barack Obama requesting that the federal government declare Texas a disaster area. These have affected all but two of the state's 254 counties.

On Sunday, some 1,300 personnel representing 34 states were on the front lines battling these fires. And, unless there is a drastic and sustained change in conditions, Saginor said she expects the fight to continue for several months more.

"With the winds that we've got today, it's hard to be aggressive with any suppression activities; it's just too dangerous to get in front of that type of fire," Texas Forest Service spokesman Marq Webb told CNN affiliate WFAA. "The fires we're experiencing in some cases are moving four or five miles an hour. That's the length of a football field every minute."

As of Saturday, Texas Forest Service personnel were responding to at least 14,758 acres of new fires -- five of them major -- that broke out during the day. A blend of potent winds, dense growth of flammable material and low humidity have made this a challenging season for firefighters in the state, with 195 Texas counties banning any burning in a bid to prevent more blazes.



April 18, 2011 7:25 p.m. EDT

Fires burn across Texas with no end in sight

Dozens of large fires burned out of control Monday in Texas in what officials described as unprecedented conditions that show no signs of abating soon.

"We're experiencing conditions never seen in Texas before," said Marq Webb, a public information officer with the Texas Forest Service, which was devoting massive resources to the effort. "Yesterday, we had 1,400 people and that number will go up today," Webb said Monday in a telephone interview from the service's incident command center in Merkel just west of Abilene.

In all, the Forest Service has been asked to help battle fires covering some 700,000 acres, he said.

Thirty-one fires were being fought in East Texas; another 11 fires in West Texas, officials said.

Monday's forecast was worse than Sunday's, "and tomorrow's supposed to be worse than today," he said. Though temperatures are expected to dip Wednesday, they were predicted to ramp back up on Thursday and Friday.

I've been fortunate so far in that wildfires haven't gotten too close to where I live, but my mother mentioned that she stepped out on the porch last night and she could smell smoke in the air. The unseasonably high temperatures have been so strange for this time of year. This is more like what we might experience in late May or in June. In mid March we also had several days that got unusually hot for that time of year. We've had an early start of Spring and it looks like we're having an early start of summer.

Today I was thinking, between the reports of huge numbers of wildfires and tornadoes, this is starting to feel like a surreal disaster movie. I also saw on the news about the tornadoes in other places. I woke up from a disturbing dream this morning. In the dream, it started to sound like a tree might be about to fall on the house, so I rushed to get out and went down the street to warn others and to seek better shelter. It didn't hit, but the dream still felt unnerving. The winds have been really bad lately. I guess the dream was triggered by hearing the reports of wildfires and tornadoes and the sound of the wind. Tonight on the local news they were starting to urge people to be prepared for an early start of tornado season here.  :argh:
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#2 M.E.

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:37 PM


Are you ready?  It might make you feel more at ease if you have a plan in place.

#3 Tricia


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:57 PM

I can tell you that when I woke up Sunday morning there was the smell of smoke and a smoky haze in the air.  Turned out that there was a grass fire outside town that got into the woods but they caught it before it burned more than a few acres.

But I know that I went on alert.  Too many fires and yes, it has been hot for this time of the year.  WE NEED RAIN!!!  almost 10 inches shy of the norm.

It's been so incredibly dry this year and we also had one day back in January! that there were three fires going at once and not only was our volunteer fire dept busy but they called in 10 other fire depts and the Forest Service to help.  (I'm located in the Piney Woods of East Texas)

Adding to the accidental fires that get out of control, you have the idiots that are still burning leaves etc despite a burn ban being in effect all over the place...it's easier to say which counties don't have a burn ban.  And  then there's someone out there burning down abandoned homes.

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#4 Jazzer


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 10:29 PM

View Postmichael elizabeth, on 18 April 2011 - 08:37 PM, said:


Are you ready?  It might make you feel more at ease if you have a plan in place.
Maybe a little, but we have a very limited area in the middle of the house. The central hallway is small (roughly 5 x 6 feet), but it has doors on all 4 walls that lead into rooms with windows, one of them being the bathroom, which has a glass sliding shower door, so there's lots of glass in the bathroom. If any of those doors came open, then flying glass could get into the hallway. But a few times we have gotten in the hallway and left TV & radio on to keep up with the weather.

There's one small closet in that hallway, but the downside is that on the opposite wall is the closet for the water heater, which is powered by gas. If it was damaged enough, it could potentially have a gas leak, which would increase the risk of a fire starting, but if the water leaked out, I guess that would help, as long as we didn't get badly scalded by it.

In the living room, there is another small closet close to the halldoor, so at least it's near the central part of the house, but there are large windows in the living room, and if that closet came open, there would still be the same risk of flying glass. But those 2 closets would be the best bet. But they're both small enough it would be pretty crowded for 2 people to fit into either one. I thought it might be best if I got in one and my elderly mother got in the other, but if there was room enough, I think I'd rather be in a closet with my mother, so maybe I could help shield her if necessary.

Anyway, I'd like to clean those closets out enough that we could get into them if necessary. I think they mostly just have some boxes, books, and extra blankets & pillows in them. We'd also need to remove some of the shelves, but that wouldn't be too hard. I'd also like to keep some bottles of water in there, too.

Concerning fires, all you can do is get out as fast as you can, along with grabbing a cell phone to call 911. I just happened to think it would be a good idea to put some breathing masks in the drawers next to our beds, because oftentimes, it's the smoke inhalation that gets to people first.
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#5 Julianus

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:15 PM

Hope all of you in Texas stay safe. I can't think of worse double trouble than having to deal with tornadoes and wild fires.

Take care,

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