Concho Valley wildfires cover thousands of acres
By Alana Edgin
San Angelo Standard-Times
Wildfires are continuing to blaze in and around the Concho Valley on Tuesday after the weekend left more than 9,000 acres scorched, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.
The McDaniel Fire in Coke county, northwest of San Angelo, has grown to more than 4,200 acres since Sunday and was 75% contained as of Tuesday afternoon.
Volunteer fire departments from Robert Lee, Grape Creek, Carlsbad, Quail Valley, Dove Creek, Bronte and East Concho responded to the McDaniel fire.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Arroyo Grande Fire in Sutton County near Sonora had been 90% contained and burned an estimated 6,000 acres since it began Thursday. Fire departments from Sonora, Eldorado and Crockett County responded to this fire.
"There have been structures threatened in both," said Robyn Griffith, Texas A&M Forest Service. "As of Sunday (in the McDaniel Fire), there were 12 structures threatened and we did lose a couple."
The McDaniel Fire lost two outbuildings, two tractors, a vehicle and a UTV. No structures have been lost in the Arroyo Grande Fire as of Sunday.
Fire departments responding to the Wehmeyer fire in Runnels County and the 10 Mile Ranch Fire in Tom Green County contained both fires. The Wehmeyer fire stretched 1,001 acres and the 10 Mile Ranch fire burned 40 acres, according to the forest service.
The lack of recent rain is partly behind the fires' spread, said Mark Cunningham, NWS meteorologist.
"One thing that has kind of helped us is that the winds haven't been too strong," he said.
"We are asking for people to help prevent other fires," Griffith said. "Over the weekend, from Friday to Sunday, we responded to 19 fires from West Texas to the Panhandle."
With dry conditions likely to continue through the week and a lower rainfall than this time last year, wildfires are a concern, according to the National Weather Service.
"Basically, you want to prevent any burning you want to do and keep it at a minimum, especially in the afternoon when the winds pick up," Cunningham said.
Here are some ways to prevent fires:
• Avoid parking or idling in grass.
• Do not throw cigarette butts out the window.
• Avoid activities that can produce sparks.
• Make sure the area is clear of vegetation.
• Keep equipment in good condition.
• Make sure charcoal is completely out before moving it.
• Keep a water source or fire extinguisher nearby.
• Make sure not to cause sparks while doing actives.
• While pulling or hauling anything, make sure chains are tight.
• Do not leave a fire unattended
"Nine out of every ten wildfires are human caused," Griffith said. "So, do your part and don't let a wildfire start."
People can keep track of wildfires by checking inciweb.nwcg.gov, following the Texas A&M Forest Service on Twitter and Facebook, or following the Lone Star State Incident Management Team - Texas A&M Forest Service on Twitter and Facebook.
Alana Edgin is a journalist covering Crime and Courts in West Texas. Send her a news tip at firstname.lastname@example.org.