Big Bend Chat
Other Parks of the Big Bend Region => Other Area Parks => Topic started by: Quatro on March 11, 2014, 12:51:18 PM
Headline says caused by a backpacker's stove. My IE browser locks up when I try to read the rest of the story though.
A backpacker using a portable stove accidentally started a grass fire that forced more than 80 campers out of Palo Duro State Park and kept firefighters from four departments busy overnight, park Superintendent Cory Evans said Tuesday morning.
Crews are still monitoring the 16-acre grass fire, Randall County Fire Chief James Amerson said.
“What we’re worried about is when the winds pick up later,” Amerson said. “So this morning we’re going to get … crews out there and work it really hard and hopefully have it under control before the winds hit.”
The park will remain closed Tuesday, said Evans. He hopes to open the park at 8 a.m. Wednesday if firefighters can quelch the blaze.
Amerson said crews had formed a small fire line around the blaze, which is more than a half-mile from the turnaround area of Park Road 5. The fire has been difficult to control because of its remote location, Amerson said.
“This is all hiking in and handwork, so it’s pretty difficult,” he said.
Firefighters will have to work quickly, Amerson said. Crews face dry conditions and wind gusts may reach 60 mph Tuesday afternoon, National Weather Service Amarillo meteorologist Justyn Jackson said.
“This morning, it’s probably going to be the calm before the storm,” he said, with wind speeds increasing to 15 to 20 mph by noon and 30 to 40 mph by 5 p.m.
A red flag warning is in effect until 9 p.m. for Potter, Randall Wheeler, Gray, Carson, Oldham, Deaf Smith, Armstrong, Donley and Collingsworth counties, the weather service said. Elevated fire danger and high wind warnings are in effect for the rest of the Texas Panhandle.
After midnight Wednesday, 20 to 30 mph winds should persist before slowing down to about 15 to 20 mph after sunrise, Jackson said.
Jackson urged residents to avoid any outdoor activities that carry a fire risk under Tuesday’s conditions.
About 80 campers left the park Monday evening as firefighters from Canyon Fire, Randall Fire, Texas Forestry Service and Amarillo Fire Department worked to contain the blaze, Palo Duro Canyon Resource Manager Mark Hassell said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department authorities were also at the park Tuesday morning, Amerson said.