Weather Helps Firefighters Gain Ground on Wildcat Fire

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

SAN ANGELO - The Wildcat Fire in San Angelo, which has been burning since last week, is on its way to scorching 160,000 acres. On Wednesday evening, firefighters said they may finally be getting a handle on it.

NewsWest 9 traveled out to the command center for the Wildcat Fire, where we were given the latest updates on firefighters' efforts to contain the blaze.

The Texas Forest Service confirmed to NewsWest 9 that the fire has jumped from 30% to 75% contained on Wednesday. The fire has burned a little more than 159,000 acres. There have still been no reports of injuries or homes burned.

More than 30 states' worth of firefighting services have been called in to battle the flames.

But on Wednesday, Mother Nature threw in her hand.

Firefighters said humidity jumped up 20%, providing that essential moisture in the air to help put the fire out.

They also said cooler winds from the northeast were blowing the blazes back onto already dead grass, cutting down the fire's fuel and helping firefighters even more.

A thunderstorm also broke out Wednesday evening and firefighters said that's both a blessing and a curse.

They need the water badly, but still have to watch out for lightning strikes sparking up any new flames.

"As long as we get some rain with it, it's the number one thing that we could ask for to help stop these wildfires in West Texas," Nicole Hawk, Public Information Officer with the Texas Forest Service, said. "But we are, of course, always concerned when lightning starts, because the fuels are so dry, the persistent droughts, and so we'll just be hoping for the best, that the rain comes along with any lightning that there is."

The Texas Forest Service also told NewsWest 9 that all evacuations and road closures have been lifted as of Wednesday night. That includes the evacuations of the nearby communities of Robert Lee and Bronte.