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View Full Version : OT: Central Texas is Burning



lazlo
09-06-2011, 09:03 AM
Picture of downtown Austin Yesterday. We haven't had any real rain in nearly a year. A bunch of subdivisions are in flames -- several of my co-workers were evacuated and staying in churches:

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/Austin9-5-2011.jpg

Edit: Bastrop has lost 476 homes so far...

TexasTurnado
09-06-2011, 09:22 AM
Wow, that really looks bad...:eek: Are there any fires close to you?

Here in Dallas it has been dry, but no serious fires I am aware of within 50 miles.

John

lazlo
09-06-2011, 09:33 AM
Thanks John -- no, we're fine so far. So is Mike (Mickey_D).

MrSleepy
09-06-2011, 10:47 AM
I hope it wasnt caused by this guy doing doughnuts on main street..

cops didnt even stop him..

Rob

http://en.espnf1.com/PICTURES/CMS/11300/11360.jpg

gcude
09-06-2011, 11:47 AM
Robert,

Austin area seems to be hardest hit, but East Texas, where I'm at is not a lot better. We've got several large fires of thousands of acres that were just going where the wind wanted to take them. The winds finally died down over night and that has let the firefighters begin to get them contained. Serious situation for sure.

HWooldridge
09-06-2011, 01:51 PM
It was 51 this morning and I'm thankful the wind laid a bit. Last night, I was sitting next to my shop, watching the smoke from Bastrop, the Canyon Lake park fire and the Stone Oak fire. We have plenty of dry grass around the house so I'm keeping my eye on the horizon.

Weatherman is still saying no moisture in sight - we are turning into a desert...would have gladly taken Irene or Lee, even with flooding. :(

Black_Moons
09-06-2011, 01:56 PM
Quick! call out the national guard! Oh wait. nevermind, they are busy guarding some other nation. Sorry.

jeremy13
09-06-2011, 02:42 PM
I'm hear in Columbus Colorado County. And the fire hear was about 4 miles from my house. They think they have it contained. But the Black Hawks with the water bags got moved to North Houston. So it is up to the volunteer fire departments to finish off the fire. We went by to survey the damage it was bad. Seen a few burned up homes and live stock. The bad part is the about 3 years ago there was a fire in the same part of the county. You could see the fire coming and there was already burned up trees in it's path. People have rebuilt since then and this happens.

dp
09-06-2011, 08:44 PM
Well get that mess put out - I'm headed down that way in October! Alla y'all stay safe.

wierdscience
09-06-2011, 10:23 PM
Man that sucks:( we got 12-1/2" of rain we really didn't need over the weekend.

wierdscience
09-06-2011, 10:28 PM
Quick! call out the national guard! Oh wait. nevermind, they are busy guarding some other nation. Sorry.

All the Nat'l guard in the world won't put that fire out.

HWooldridge
09-06-2011, 11:05 PM
My grandpa on Mom's side was born in 1902 and raised in Blanco county; he lived in Central and South Texas for his entire life. He often commented that during the early part of the century, fires would start every summer and burn until they either ran out of fuel or were rain extinguished. There was simply no way to put out a big brush fire by hand. He went on to say this was one reason old homesteads usually had no grass around the house (another natural result to running free range chickens). The house my grandmother was born in was built in 1852 near the Pedernales river and always had large pecan trees around it but there were no low hanging branches or grass allowed. Subsequently, it survived many local brush fires and is still occupied today by one of my cousins.

We value our home landscapes and have come to trust modern fire fighting equipment and techniques to save us but eliminating fuel around buildings is better prevention than trying to put it out after it starts. In any case, my heart goes out to all of the fire victims and I pray we get rain soon.

Mcgyver
09-06-2011, 11:15 PM
wow, that looks scary. No rain in a year and half? that is drrrrry

wooleybooger
09-06-2011, 11:40 PM
this worries the hell out of me. Ive never seen it this dry ever. these fires pop up and quickly overpower our small rural undermanned,under equipped volunteer fire departments. when its this dry and windy all you can do is get out the way. we have only had 3 1/2" of rain this year and nothing to bragg about since May 2010.

Mad Scientist
09-07-2011, 12:28 AM
Quick! call out the national guard! Oh wait. nevermind, they are busy guarding some other nation. Sorry.
That's OK there are a handful of volunteers that are trying to fight it.
Oops that that back FEMA is now involved and they don't want volunteers getting in their way. Of course we know what a great job they did in New Orleans so obviously there is nothing to worry about.

CCWKen
09-07-2011, 12:28 AM
That fire is probably 30+ miles from Austin (outside Bastrop, TX). The original photo was sent to my daughter by one of her friends. My daughter posted it on her Facebook page and was helping some of the ranchers in the area arrange for moving livestock. The photo went viral within a couple of hours. My daughter used to live out near Bastrop and knows a lot of the small ranch owners. There's a lot of cattle and horse farms in that area along with large housing developments.

I think the house count is up over 1000 now. 30,000 acres went up in smoke just on Sunday alone. The winds have subsided so the fire is slowing down. There was some news footage that showed how fast the fire was moving. The view had about 50 yards of grass in the foreground and about 100 yards of trees visible in the background. The fire engulfed the entire view in about 10 seconds. The trees looked like they were exploding. That's the problem the firefighters were having--Just trying to stay out of the way.

aostling
09-07-2011, 01:13 AM
As huge as Texas is, there are no natural lakes within its borders. There are a lot of man-made reservoirs, of course, but I wonder if there is enough water in them after the current drought to supply the water which is going to be required for fighting these devastating fires.

Black_Moons
09-07-2011, 02:43 AM
All the Nat'l guard in the world won't put that fire out.

Of course not, However, a few thousand well trained.. Err wait. Let me check.. Ok, 400,000~ (Presumed about 10,000 from texas alone? can't find exact stats however) strong people, allready on the payroll, Sure would help the firemen in creating fire brakes, evacuations, etc. Minimize the damage of the fires, save human lives. That sorta stuff. Ie: what those people actualy (thought they) signed up for when they signed on the dotted line under "national GUARD"

As is, apparently FEMA is rejecting the help of the existing firefighters in texas..
http://www.sffma.org/ some state firemens/fire marshel association of texas lists 20,000 members.

Does not look good at all. My heart goes out to those in the path of the fire. My angry shaking fist goes out to those in charge.

lazlo
09-07-2011, 08:44 AM
this worries the hell out of me. Ive never seen it this dry ever.

I noticed several burnt sections on Austin overpasses yesterday. They didn't look like controlled burns.


As huge as Texas is, there are no natural lakes within its borders. There are a lot of man-made reservoirs, of course, but I wonder if there is enough water in them after the current drought to supply the water which is going to be required for fighting these devastating fires.

Austin and San Antonio are supplied by the Edwards aquifer, which is fed by the Colorado River. But like Ken described, all the water in the world isn't going to help on these fires.

A picture from the Austin Statesman yesterday:

http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/cnishared/tools/shared/mediahub/05/22/00/slideshow_1002256127_Texas_Wildfires.jpg

Rustybolt
09-07-2011, 09:19 AM
Of course not, However, a few thousand well trained.. Err wait. Let me check.. Ok, 400,000~ (Presumed about 10,000 from texas alone? can't find exact stats however) strong people, allready on the payroll, Sure would help the firemen in creating fire brakes, evacuations, etc. Minimize the damage of the fires, save human lives. That sorta stuff. Ie: what those people actualy (thought they) signed up for when they signed on the dotted line under "national GUARD"

As is, apparently FEMA is rejecting the help of the existing firefighters in texas..
http://www.sffma.org/ some state firemens/fire marshel association of texas lists 20,000 members.

Does not look good at all. My heart goes out to those in the path of the fire. My angry shaking fist goes out to those in charge.





Brush fire can cover a lot of ground in just minutes. They'd be better served with bulldozers or road graders lined up side by side for 50 yards.

Dawai
09-07-2011, 09:41 AM
Of course not, However, a few thousand well trained.. Err wait. Let me check.. Ok, 400,000~ (Presumed about 10,000 from texas alone? can't find exact stats however) strong people, allready on the payroll, Sure would help the firemen in creating fire brakes, evacuations, etc. Minimize the damage of the fires, save human lives. That sorta stuff. Ie: what those people actualy (thought they) signed up for when they signed on the dotted line under "national GUARD"

As is, apparently FEMA is rejecting the help of the existing firefighters in texas..
http://www.sffma.org/ some state firemens/fire marshel association of texas lists 20,000 members.

Does not look good at all. My heart goes out to those in the path of the fire. My angry shaking fist goes out to those in charge.

Sounds like a armchair quarterback to me. In another "country" stating facts pulled from someplace on the net. I had a relative like that once. He was a genius, misapplied energy. Spent hours winning arguments on forums by research.
Don't you have a Machine shop to play in?

What was worse? if he could not win a argument, he'd hack in and put child porn on their computer then turn them in.. too much time.

Fire is good for construction jobs.. I have friends out there too thou. Americans have been pulling "other countries" asses out of the fire so long we forgot we are supposed to take care of our own first.

jugs
09-07-2011, 03:14 PM
this worries the hell out of me. Ive never seen it this dry ever. these fires pop up and quickly overpower our small rural undermanned,under equipped volunteer fire departments. when its this dry and windy all you can do is get out the way. we have only had 3 1/2" of rain this year and nothing to bragg about since May 2010.

We've just had 3" in 2 days

hope you are all safe.

CCWKen
09-07-2011, 04:57 PM
You wanna talk dry? I've had 2 1/2" of rain in the last 12 months. About 6" in the last four years! Had to replace the well pump and tank about two weeks ago. I use it to keep the garden and fruit trees alive. Even the cactus is dieing. I can't remember the last time I cut grass. There isn't any. Just brown spouts about every 3-4 feet. The rest is dirt or dust. Yet the Ragweed is popping up as green as Christmas trees. :rolleyes:

lazlo
09-07-2011, 05:49 PM
I think the house count is up over 1000 now.

Well over 1,000 now, according to the Houston Chronicle, and the Bastrop fire is only 30% contained.

There's another 3,700 acre fire at Fort Hood.

From The Guardian, of all places:

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/9/6/1315303698292/A-wildfire-burns-out-of-c-007.jpg

Evan
09-07-2011, 06:36 PM
I wonder how Wimberly is doing? It's north of Austin. My sister lives there but I don't talk to her much. She and her husband own The Wimberley Lavender Farm (http://www.wimberleylavender.com/)

tdmidget
09-07-2011, 07:35 PM
And just to make you really mad, there is a 747 fire fighting plane 20 miles from here that is not used because the guvmint says it is too old. It was OK for passengers before it was converted but now it can't be used.

CCWKen
09-07-2011, 08:33 PM
I wonder how Wimberly is doing? It's north of Austin. My sister lives there but I don't talk to her much. She and her husband own The Wimberly Lavender Farm (http://www.wimberleylavender.com/)
Actually, Wimberly is West of Austin. Closer to Blanco and North of Canyon Lake. There was a fire near Canyon Lake last week but it was put out pretty quick. They're in the same boat as everyone else in Texas--Dry. I looked at the website. Appears they're closed due to the drought.

There's a fire going on now just North of San Antonio. It's in the Camp Bullis area. It's a training range and they were afraid to send firefighters in because of unexploded ordinance. Turns out they don't use live rounds but it delayed Army response and allowed the fire to burn outside the Military Reservation.

jnissen
09-07-2011, 10:49 PM
I just got let back into my neighborhood after having a fire threaten us in western Austin. Was a close call for me with only a couple blocks to spare. 24 homes were lost in my subdivision so I consider myself lucky. Way to darn dry. Praying for rain.

HWooldridge
09-07-2011, 10:54 PM
You wanna talk dry? I've had 2 1/2" of rain in the last 12 months. About 6" in the last four years! Had to replace the well pump and tank about two weeks ago. I use it to keep the garden and fruit trees alive. Even the cactus is dieing. I can't remember the last time I cut grass. There isn't any. Just brown spouts about every 3-4 feet. The rest is dirt or dust. Yet the Ragweed is popping up as green as Christmas trees. :rolleyes:

I'm just south of New Braunfels - have lived in the area all of my 52 years and never seen it like this past year (of course, the news has been reporting this is the driest period since they started keeping records in 1895).

This is the first year I can recall that we did not get at least one hay cut. I have been thru years with only one cut but this season has yielded a big goose egg. At this late date, we cannot recover any portion of the current growing period as it would take at least 3 weeks of rain and another 30 days after that to get any forage - and that ain't happening. Some folks may not realize the importance of this but there is an enormous amount of farm and ranch business that won't recover for many years (and that assumes things get back to normal and stay there). The state is currently forecasting 8 billion dollars in agricultural losses but I personally believe the costs will go much higher because it will reverberate for for a long time. People are dumping cattle and horses because they can't afford to feed 'em - and nobody will be eager to get back in that game after the beating we have been taking.

On the bright side, the ragweed never bloomed this year around us (small blessings). Reckon I'll go get a camel since I already live in the Sahara...:eek:

vpt
09-10-2011, 11:10 AM
Bumping this back up for more pics and info. The whole state of texas must be ready to just spontaneously combust.

lazlo
09-10-2011, 11:30 AM
Evan, the fires are popping up all over the place, but I just checked Wimberly, and it's still OK.

The Austin Statesman has fire updates several times a day, you can check the latest status here:

Central Texas Wildfire Updates September 8, 2011
http://www.kutnews.org/post/central-texas-wildfire-updates-september-8-2011

lazlo
09-10-2011, 11:43 AM
This is pretty slick -- a real-time fire map:

http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/?lat=31.48489&lon=-100.41504&zoom=6&type=map&units=english&top=fire&rad=0&wxsn=0&svr=0&cams=0&sat=0&riv=0&mm=0&hur=0&fire=1&fire.sat=1&fire.smk=1&fire.day=1&fire.day=7&fire.hrmin=0&fire.hrmax=24&fire.opa=70&fire.mode=0&tor=0&ndfd=0&pix=0&dir=0&ads=0&tfk=0&ski=0

Evan
09-10-2011, 12:12 PM
You are getting the sort of weather and fire problems we had last year. This year summer was a washout except for right now. Now it's hot and drying up fast but that can't last too long, I hope.

lazlo
09-10-2011, 12:29 PM
jnissen, you're obviously in Steiner Ranch -- did you make out OK? A bunch of Nvidians live there, they were all evacuated.
We donated $100 to the Steiner relief fund.

You should come to one of the Austin Metalworking Club meetings at Rudys -- drop me a PM...

mich_88_13
09-10-2011, 02:51 PM
We've shipped 4 semi loads of hay down there & at least once a week were getting calls looking for more hay. Last week there were 2 loads of cattle @ the sale barn from Texas they were all skin & bones. Its has to be getting bad down there.

jkilroy
09-10-2011, 02:59 PM
Wow, those are some scary pics. I lived in Austin a couple years and really enjoyed it, one of those places I would go back to. Or so I thought. I was really hoping you guys would get some of that tropical storm, we had three days straight solid rain, not really hard, but probably got close to 8" over the stretch.

gary350
09-10-2011, 04:09 PM
This is a man made problem. Let nature take it course.