Latest Updates on West Texas Fires - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Latest Updates on West Texas Fires

Updated:
Aerial View of the fire damage from the Midland County Fire. Our thanks to Ashleigh for this picture. Aerial View of the fire damage from the Midland County Fire. Our thanks to Ashleigh for this picture.
Grassfire Damage in Midland County, Texas Grassfire Damage in Midland County, Texas
Damage in Fort Davis, Texas Damage in Fort Davis, Texas

UPDATE 4/19 6:15 p.m.: The Rockhouse Fire near Fort Davis is now 75% contained. Officials are reporting that 199,000 acres have burned. Officials are still conducting burnout operations in the area.

UPDATE 4/19 3:23 p.m.: Officials are reporting the Wildcat Fire in the San Angelo Area is currently 10% contained as of 2:30p.m. The fire size is estimated at 150,000 acres. New evacuations have been ordered west of Highway 277 from FM 2662 south to the Goodyear Proving Ground. Current road closures include FM 2662 between Highway 208 and Highway 277, and Highway 277 between FM 2662 and FM 2105. A shelter has been set up at the Community Center in Robert Lee at 150 Park Road and Foster Communications Coliseum in San Angelo is also open as a shelter.

UPDATE 4/18 9:10 p.m.: Andrews County officials tell NewsWest 9, the Fix Ranch Fire is now 100% contained. It burned about 2,500 acres. One structure was threatened but was not damaged.

UPDATE 4/18 7:05 p.m.: NewsWest 9 has learned of a fire burning in Andrews County. The fire is west of Highway 385 at this time. Fire crews are on the scene working the blaze. The smoke from the fire can be seen from the NewsWest 9 Studios. NewsWest 9 has a crew on the way to the scene.

UPDATE 4/18 12:30 p.m.: The State Fire Marshal's Office say the Rock House fire was started by an electrical malfunction inside a home north of Marfa. The home was unoccupied, but had active utilities.

UPDATE 4/17 9:55 p.m.: Officials are reporting that the Iraan or Yatesfield Fire is now 80 percent contained. That fire has burned about 300 acres. The DHR and Little Smokie Fires are also 80 percent contained. Officials expect to spend Monday hitting hot spots.

UPDATE 4/16 10:15 p.m.: Officials began a "burnout operation" in Fort Davis on Saturday to get the Rockhouse fire under control. Officials intentionally set a fire northwest of the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis so the fire will head west. So far, the Rockhouse fire has burned 165,000 acres and is currently 70% contained.

UPDATE 4/16 10:10 p.m.: The Iraan or Yatesfield Fire is now 40 percent contained. The fire has burned about 300 acres. Meanwhile the Cannon complex fires in Pecos County have burned through 63,000 acres. That does include the DHR and Little Smokie Fires.

UPDATE 4/16 10:00 p.m.: Officials are reporting that the Frying Pan Ranch Fire in Andrews County is now 100% contained. No structures were burned and no injuries were reported.

UPDATE 4/15 9:46 p.m.: Andrews County Officials are reporting the "Frying Pan" Fire is now 70% contained. 150,000 acres have been burned.

UPDATE 4/15 4:02 p.m.: RM 2400 in Terrell County will be closed at around 3:30 today so firefighters can do some controlled burnbacks in the area.

UPDATE 4/15 4:00 p.m.: TXDOT is reporting that State Highway 115 has been reopened in Andrews County. 115 is open between FM 181 and Highway 128.

UPDATE 4/15 2:00 p.m.: Victor Lopez reports firefighters have contained the Frying Pan Fire to an area north of Highway 128. Air recon reports that the fire has burned itself out in several spots. More air recon will be done later today. The fire is of no immediate threat to Winkler County.

UPDATE 4/15 1:30 p.m.: TxDOT has closed State Highway 115 between SH 181 and SH 128. Please be cautious around Andrews while driving.

UPDATE 4/15 1:30 p.m.: Update from Texas Forest Service on the Cannon Complex Fire.
DRH fire: 26,000 acres burned, 50% containment
Cannon Ranch Fire: 9,200 acres burned, 40% containment
Little Smokey Fire: 6,000 acres burned, 20% containment
Crews were able to save two homes and two other structures overnight.

UPDATE 4/15 1:30 p.m.: 10,000 acres have burned, 10% containment. Some homes and oil and gas facilities have been threatened. Aerial recon will take place this afternoon weather permitting.

UPDATE 4/15 1:30 p.m.: Update on the Rock House Fire: 165,000 acres burned. 70%  containment. Crews working the northwest side of the fire.

UPDATE 4/15 7:45 a.m.: Pecos County officials report not much change with the fire burning south of Iraan overnight. The winds finally died down in Pecos County after the passage of a cool front. TXDOT reports that roads closed yesterday in Pecos and Andrews Counties because of fire have now reopened to traffic.

UPDATE 4/14 9:16 p.m.: State Highway 181 in Andrews County has been reopened. State Highway 115 between State Highway 181 and State Highway 128 is now closed due to a grassfire.

UPDATE 4/14 8:56 p.m.: From KTXS in Abilene: The Fisher County Sheriff's Office has requested that residents of Rotan evacuate the city because of a wildfire moving southeast towards Rotan. Shelters are being set up at churches in Roby.

UPDATE 4/14 8:44 p.m.: Update on the "Frying Pan" fire. Officials in Andrews County are reporting that the fire is spreading southeast in Andrews County. The fire is currently headed toward FM 181. Officials were unable to report how large the fire was. No structures have been burned and no injuries have been reported.

UPDATE 4/14 8:36 p.m.: Mike Henry from KBYG is reporting that a fire that sparked up on FM 821 is now contained.

UPDATE 4/14 8:35 p.m.: The "Frying Pan" fire continues to burn in Andrews County. There are no evacuations at this time for the City of Andrews as the fire is 15 miles outside of the city.

UPDATE 4/14 8:33 p.m.: State Highway 349 is closed south of Sheffield due to a grassfire in the area.

UPDATE 4/14 7:59 p.m.: The fire off Apple Street in the Pleasant Farms area is under control. About 30 acres were charred and seven out buildings caught on fire. No homes were damaged. Crews are still on the scene putting out hot spots.

UPDATE 4/14 7:58 p.m.: TXDOT has closed State Hwy 181 from FM 2371 to State Highway 115 in Andrews County due to a fire.

UPDATE 4/14 7:15 p.m.: City of Midland says fire south of town today on 1200 and 150 is contained. It burned about 50 acres, but no structures. No injuries reported.

UPDATE 4/14 6:32 p.m.: The Texas Forest Service has named the fire in Andrews County. The "Frying Pan" Ranch fire continues to burn. A Texas Forest Service tractor plow unit is responding to the fire. No other information has been released in regards to the fire.

UPDATE 4/14 6:27 p.m.: Pecos County officials tell NewsWest9 that a fire has broken out in Smith Canyon, southwest of Iraan. A few residents in that area have been evacuated, but as of right now the town of Iraan is NOT being evacuated.

UPDATE 4/14 4:20 p.m.: NewsWest 9 has some details regarding the volunteer firefighter truck rollover along Interstate 20. At around 3 p.m., Greenwood VFD Driver Harland Grizmang was turning onto I-20 from FM 307, when water in the tank of his truck shifted, causing the truck to roll over. Grizmang was transported to Midland Memorial Hospital complaining of neck and back pain. The truck is considered a total loss.

UPDATE 4/14 4:05 p.m.: NewsWest 9's Victor Lopez is reporting that the Midland County fire is about 90% contained.

UPDATE 4/14 4:00 p.m.: NewsWest 9 has confirmed that the fires that were contained last night have re-ignited in Pecos County. Officials believe the high winds and the smoldering in the area are to blame. The Cannon Fire, the DHR Ranch Fire, the Slaughter Ranch Fire and the Prarie Ranch fire have reignited. Pecos Officials say you can see the smoke from Interstate 10. Texas Forest Service is on the scene working the fires with local fire departments. Planes are on the way to assist in those efforts.

UPDATE 4/14 3:44 p.m.: Our NewsWest 9 crew on the scene of the fire in South Midland County is reporting that Teen Challenge has been evacuated. The evacuation is being done as a precaution. No structures or buildings are threatened.

UPDATE 4/14 3:30 p.m.:  NewsWest 9 has received reports that a volunteer fire truck rolled over on the way to a grassfire in Midland County off of the Interstate. Details are limited and we will pass along any new information when we receive it.

UPDATE 4/14 3:01 p.m.: Scanner traffic is reporting that the fire has jumped County Road 1200.

UPDATE 4/14 3:00 p.m.: Fire crews are responding to a grassfire south of Midland. The fire is located at 6901 South County Road 1200. Numerous fire crews are on the scene. NewsWest 9 has a crew on the way to the scene.

UPDATE 4/14 1:45 p.m.: Several fires have been reported around the area. A fire has been reported off Highway 80 in Midland, but scanner traffic indicated that crews were getting it knocked down. Another fire was burning off 176 between Andrews and Eunice. A duplex also caught fire in Odessa near 23rd and Muskingum. That fire is now out.

UPDATE 4/14 10:45 a.m.: Pecos County authorities report some very good news. They say both the Cannon Fire and DHR Fire have been contained as of late last night. The two fires have burned 32,000 acres. Crews are monitoring hot spots to make sure the fires don't flare back up with today's winds.

UPDATE 4/14 10:25 a.m.: The Rock House fire is still 60% contained and has burned 165,000 acres.

UPDATE 4/13 9:55 p.m.: Update from the Texas Forest Service regarding the "Roper Fire." Officials are reporting the fire is now 100% contained, but not before it burned 41,000 acres.

UPDATE 4/13 9:30 p.m.: Big Spring Mayor Tommy Duncan has declared Sunday, April 17, as a day to pray for rain.

UPDATE 4/13 6:05 p.m.: The McDonald Observatory reopened today after being closed by the Rock House Fire.

UPDATE 4/13 3:48 p.m.: Two fires are continuing to burn south of Interstate 10 in Pecos County. The Cannon Fire and the DHR fire are continuing to burn today. Fire crews are concentrating their efforts on the DHR fire right now. That fire has burned 15,000 acres. Both fires are south of Interstate 10 and fire officials have been able to push both fires back away from the Interstate.

UPDATE 4/13 3:31 p.m.: The Texas Forest Service has issued an update on the "Roper Fire." Officials are reporting that the fire is 95% contained and has burned 40,000 acres.

UPDATE 4/13 11:45 a.m.: Victor Lopez reports that the Rock House fire remains at 60% contained. 133,000 acres have now burned. The added acreage was from a control burn yesterday to try and contain the northeast side of the fire. That is the side that continues to burn. Some crews have been sent home to rest. Fire officials say they are trying to get as much contained before the weather conditions get even worse.

UPDATE 4/13 10:45 a.m.: The Cannon Fire continues to burn in Pecos County. Officials say they have deputies surveying the area looking to see if any structures were lost overnight.

UPDATE 4/13 10:00 a.m.: Smokey and hazy conditions continue in Midland-Odessa. Smoke is from fires to the south and not in the immediate area.

UPDATE 4/12 7:53 p.m.: KRTS reports Highway 118 is back open between Alpine and Fort Davis after being closed earlier.

UPDATE 4/12 4:41 p.m.: TXDOT has reopened Interstate 10 in Pecos County after a fire in the area. Motorists are asked to watch for smoke. FM 2886 is still closed.

UPDATE 4/12 4:15 p.m.: Smokey and hazy conditions are being reported over Ector County. There was a small fire near Moss and I-20, but it was quickly put out.

UPDATE 4/12 3:22 p.m.: An update from TXDOT regarding the Rockhouse fire. The fire is 15 miles south of Balmorhea, but smoke is causing poor air quality and visibility in Balmorhea. State Highway 17 is being closed at FM 3078 south due to the smoke.

UPDATE 4/12 3:18 p.m.: A fire burning near Interstate 10 has caused a portion of Interstate 10 to be closed. Interstate 10 is now closed from mile marker 294 (the Bakersfield exit) to mile marker 326 (the Sheffield exit). Traffic is being detoured north on FM 11, east on Highway 67 and south on Highway 349 which reconnects to I-10. RM 2886 is also cut off from Interstate 10.

UPDATE 4/12 1:45 p.m.: A fire burning on the Cannon Ranch south of Iraan is sending smoke into McCamey, Crane and even up into Midland-Odessa. Our crew on the scene says the Texas Forest Service is on the scene. Officials may have to close parts of Interstate 10 if the fire gets closer to the roadway.

UPDATE 4/12 12:00 p.m.: The Texas Forest Service says the Rock House Fire is now 60% contained. It has burned 108,000 acres. Power and water have been restored to Fort Davis. Crews are working on restoring gas service now.

UPDATE: 4/12 9:15 a.m.: TXDOT reports that only Highway 17 is closed right now between Fort Davis and Balmorhea.

UPDATE: 4/11 8:45 p.m.: Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson tells NewsWest9 that the fire northeast of town, which we are assuming is the "Roper Fire" as named by the Texas Forest Service is contained. A fire at Mitre Peak is still causing smoke due to a back burn underway. Things certainly sound better in northern Brewster County.

UPDATE: 4/11 8:42 p.m.: The fire burning northeast of Alpine is now being called the "Roper Fire." Texas Forest Service lists the fire as 0% contained. It has burned 25,000 acres.

UPDATE: 4/11 6:45 p.m.: NewsWest 9's Victor Lopez is reporting some good news from Fort Davis. The number of burned structures has been lowered. Originally, officials thought up to 60 buildings may have been lost. The official number is now at 16 homes and 8 other structures burned.

UPDATE: 4/11 6:27 p.m.: AEP may be requested to cut power by the Texas Forest Service at any time. This may affect customers in Alpine, Marfa, Valentine, Marathon and Shafter. Presidio and Fort Davis customers should not be affected as they are on a generator that was brought in from South Texas. The power could be off for 1 to 3 hours.

UPDATE: 4/11 5:56 p.m.: Two fires northeast of Alpine are still burning. One of those fires is located on the Sears Ranch and the other fire is manageable at this time. About 20,000 acres have been burned. No structures are threatened at this time.

UPDATE: 4/11 5:50 p.m.: Around 5:50 PM, power will be shut off to Alpine, Marathon, and Terlingua. The power will be off for 1 to 3 hours as AEP crews work to replace poles and lines that have been effected by the fire outside of Alpine.

UPDATE: 4/11 5:48 p.m.: The cause of the grassfire in Midland has been determined. Midland County Emergency Coordinator Dale Little tells NewsWest 9, two fires came together on Saturday. Officials believe the fire on FM 3503 was started by metal that fell off a truck. A cigarette butt is getting the blame for the other fire that sparked on Highway 1788.

UPDATE: 4/11 3:08 p.m.: Highway 118 between Alpine and Fort Davis is closed due to a fire.

UPDATE: 4/11 3:00 p.m.: Fort Davis schools will be closed on Tuesday.

UPDATE: 4/11 1:50 p.m.: Highway 17 between Fort Davis and Balmorhea is closed again due to heavy smoke in the area.

UPDATE: 4/11 1:30 p.m.: Texas Forest Service says the Rock House fire has burned between 80,000 and 100,000 acres. The fire is still 40% contained. The fire burning northeast of Alpine has burned 20,000 acres.

UPDATE: 4/11 8:00 a.m.: All roads near Fort Davis and Alpine, including 118, 90, 67 and 17 are now open. Also, overnight crews were able to keep the Rock House fire from getting close to any small communities and right now none are being threatened.

Fort Davis:

The Rock House Fire, which devastated parts of Fort Davis Saturday, remained at zero percent containment Sunday night. That fire burned at least 60 structures in and around Fort Davis and knocked out power to the city. When our NewsWest 9 crew traveled to Fort Davis on Sunday they saw that many homes burned to the ground, and our crews also saw the loss of livestock due to the fire.

AEP has brought in a large generator and was able to restore some power to some downtown buildings, but as of 10:00 Sunday night, 800 customers in the small city remained in the dark.

The Texas Forest Service reports the fire has scorched 60,000 acres in Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties. The fire has been given top state and national priority to bring in more resources to help get it under control.

Fort Davis Schools have canceled their classes for Tuesday. 

Midland County:

Fire fighters spent the day Sunday putting out hot spots after a fire burned 16,500 acres south of Midland near FM 1788 Saturday evening.

500 people who were evacuated Saturday were allowed to return home early Sunday morning after the "Hickman Fire" was contained.

Around 40 buildings, including homes, were burned by the fire Saturday evening. ONCOR reported around 125 power poles had been destroyed and crews were working to fully restore power to the area.

ALPINE:

Two large fire have also been burning near Alpine in northern Brewster County. Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson says those fires are burning about eight miles northeast of Alpine. One of the fires is on the Sears Ranch.

Dodson told NewsWest9 Sunday evening that crews were working to make sure Alpine would be safe from the flames even after the winds shifted to the north because of a cold front.

Highway 90/67 was closed late Sunday near the split east of Alpine because of the fire. The Brewster County Sheriff's Office told NewsWest9 around 10:30 Sunday night that no evacuations had been ordered despite some rumors that had been circulating.