March 10, 2008 -- COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The second week of March has a history of producing large and devastating fires in Texas and weather conditions expected for this week may fuel those large fires once again. The forecast for Wednesday through Friday calls for critical to extreme fire weather over much of west and central Texas where high winds and low relative humidity may combine to accelerate the spread and intensity of established fires. Fire authorities urge caution during this period of high fire danger.
Mark Stanford, Chief of Fire Operations for Texas Forest Service noted, “It is eerie how similar the fire weather forecast for this week is to the weather during the 2006 East Amarillo Complex.”
The East Amarillo Complex Fire was the most devastating fire event in Texas history. The complex included the Borger and the I-40 Fires that consumed over 907,245 acres during March 12-16, 2006. Ignited by power lines blown down by high winds, the fires resulted in the death of 11 civilian and one firefighter. Seven communities were evacuated and over 4,000 head of livestock were destroyed. Observed weather in the Panhandle on March 12th, included a high temperature of 75 degrees, minimum relative humidity of 6% and sustained winds out of the S at 46 mph with gusts to 53 mph.
Back in 1988, the Big Country Fire burned March 10–15, 1988 and consumed 366,000 acres northeast of Abilene. It advanced 60 miles to the north before turning west and threatening the town of Albany. In 1996, the Buckle L Fire burned March 12-18 threatening the town of Childress and the Triangle Fire burned March 13-18 causing concern for residents of Crowell. The Buckle L and Triangle fires occurred after a period of wet storms gave fire authorities reason to anticipate the end of the fire season.
For more information, go to http://tfsnews.tamu.edu and click on Fire Danger/Advisories.
Predictive Services Dept. Head