Fires in Texas

Fires in Texas

04 May 2011

Wildfires continue to burn in Texas and Mexico. See previous reports:

This satellite image of Texas was acquired 18 April 2011:

Of the hundreds fires that burned in Texas throughout April 2011, the Wildcat Fire was among the largest. By May 2, the fire had burned 159,308 acres and was 98 percent contained. This image, taken by the Landsat-5 satellite, shows the freshly burned land on April 18. The burned land is dark red in the false-color image, which was made from a combination of visible and infrared light. The bright prink spot on the northeastern edge of the burned area may be a hot spot on the fire front.

According to the Texas Forest Service, the fire was burning in tall grass immediately north of the town of San Angelo. The fire threatened 400 homes, but destroyed just one. The area was designated a federal disaster area just a few days before the image was taken.

A sprawling grid of pale white roads defines this as a semi-populated area. The roads and buildings are much closer together in community of San Angelo, which is silver. Roads cross through the burned area, defining areas lost to the fire. Unburned grassland is green while irrigated, fertilized farmland is bright green. Bare, unburned earth is pink-brown.

This satellite image of Texas and Mexico was acquired 27 April 2011:

Judging by the plumes of smoke, strong winds stoked the wildfires in Mexico and Texas on April 27, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image. The fires are outlined in red.

High temperatures, dry air, and strong winds during the last week of April made for extreme fire conditions in Mexico, said Semarnat, the Mexican agency for the environment and natural resources. In Coahuila, a state that shares a border with Texas, fires have been raging throughout April, burning 249,000 hectares. The large fires burning in northern Mexico are among the eight active fires Semarnat reported in the state on April 27.

Immediately to the south, the state of San Luis Potosi reported 22 active fires on April 28. Most of these fires were burning in grass and brush after being ignited by lightning.

Farther south, Vera Cruz also reported widespread fire activity. Many of the fires were intentionally set for agricultural clearing but then grew out of control because of strong winds. The state has temporarily banned agricultural burning. The large image, which shows the wider area, shows several smaller fires burning throughout Mexico. This type of widespread burning is usually agricultural in nature.

Two large wildfires were also burning across the border in Texas, the Rockhouse Fire and the Deaton Cole Fire. As of May 2, the long-lived Rockhouse Fire had burned 313,323 acres and was 95 percent contained. The Deaton Cole fire had burned 175,000 acres and was 30 percent contained, said the Texas Forest Service.

From the GFMC Newsroom:

For earlier reports see:

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