Longhornmaniac
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Central Texas Fires

Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:50 am

Central Texas, including several different parts of Austin, has some terrible fires right now being fed by the complete lack of rain this summer, as well as extremely high winds right now. Several hundred homes have been affected since yesterday.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44395316/ns/weather/

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/information-on-fires-in-central-texas

Very, very dangerous conditions right now.

To anyone in Texas, please be extra careful. Don't toss cigarette butts out the car window, or do anything with fire!

Stay safe.

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
RGElectra80
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:51 pm

I didn't realize how serious this was until last night. I was out grilling for two hours without a care in the world yesterday afternoon. Oops. In case any one wants to see this in geographical form here are some maps:

http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/ (click on Fire in the nav bar on the right)
http://ticc.tamu.edu/Response/FireActivity/default.aspx
austinspotter.wordpress.com
 
LoneStarMike
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:19 am

Have any of you ever watched that show on the Weather Channel called It Could Happen Tomorrow?

It explores the possibilities of various weather and other natural phenomena severely damaging or destroying America's cities. Here's a Wikipedia link about the show.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Could_Happen_Tomorrow

Quote:
Plot

Each episode is broken into several segments: "It Did Happen"-this segment talks about similar disasters happening in other parts of America (or even earlier in the target city featured); "When It Happens/How It Would Happen"-this talks about how the disaster would unfold; and a third segment about how to prepare for the disaster, and interviews with residents in the threatened areas about what they think of the disaster threat. Sometimes there is a segment called "Before It Happens", which shows what's being done to prepare for the disaster.

If you go to the Wikipedia Link, scroll down to Season 2 - Show #16 that aired on January 28, 2007

Event Location Based On

Wildfire Austin, TX Oakland Hills firestorm

I guess "tomorrow" has finally arrived. Thankfully, I'm not near any of the current fires - but my apartment complex backs up to the Barton Creek Greenbelt which is a tinder box right now because of the heat and lack of rain. (Our last meaningful rainfall was 2 inches on June 27.) If the greenbelt were to catch fire, our 600-unit complex would probably be totally wiped out.

Lots of info & photos. from the local paper - The Austin American Statesman

http://www.statesman.com/

A guy who posts on an urban development forum that I post on took some photos from West Austin looking east towards the Bastrop Fire (the biggest of several fires around the city)

Link

You can see downtown and what looks like clouds on the horizon is actually the smoke from the fires in Bastrop (30 miles southeast of downtown.

Some of the viewer photos submitted to the paper posted by one of the moderators of the other forum.

Link

LoneStarMike
 
Okie
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:10 am

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Thread starter):

To anyone in Texas, please be extra careful. Don't toss cigarette butts out the car window, or do anything with fire!


We have had the same issue with fires here in Oklahoma. Ironically the majority of the fires have been caused by Brush Hogs and Lawn equipment (riding lawnmowers) that people have been using to clear areas to provide a bit of a fire break for their property. Usually hitting rocks or other things hidden in the grass that causes a spark and it ignites the brush since it is so dry. The fire gets out of control quickly with the winds and dry brush/grass.
The other culprit is catalytic converters, there is no problem figuring out where the highway patrol or police like to set up their speed/radar traps the landscape is usually burned in that area. Works better than radar detectors just look for the burned landscape up ahead.
Stay safe down there.

Okie
 
AUSisAWESOME
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:19 am

We could see the Bastrop fire in North San Antonio this morning and our neighbors said they could see it in Katy.
Upcoming flights: XNA-ATL-TGU/DL XNA-DFW-AUS/AA XNA-LAX/AA
 
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fxramper
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:36 am

I know someone that already lost their home and everything in it. I also heard if your outside grilling or smoking you'll get a ticket or arrested. Is that the case right now? Cam, go check my house please.   
 
ltbewr
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:44 am

Severe draughts have happened in the historic past in this region, that is well known. For the last several years, usual patterns of weather have moved, keeping away any possible weather that could bring in 'normal' rainfalls. The severity of these fires has caused Gov. Perry to back off his 'Presidental' campainging and return to Texas to deal with this extremely serious problem, the absolutly right thing to do and he should stay until the danger is well passed. Guess Perry needs to lead another 'prayer meeting' to ask 'God' for rain.
 
Quokka
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:55 am

My thoughts go out to all those who have lost their homes and to those who continue to be at risk.

Living in Australia and having had to fight bush fires that threatened my own house as well as those of my neighbours I can imagine what they are going through.

A question: do States or Counties in the US carry out prescribed burning? Here in Western Australia the DEC carries out a programme of controlled burns each year to reduce the fuel load in State forests. Property owners are required to put in firebreaks to both reduce the risk of fire spread and to provide access in the event of fire. Are similar practices carried out in the US?

I hope that you guys are able to get the fires under control without much further loss of property and, more importantly, loss of life. Best wishes,
Quokka
 
Okie
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:10 am

Quoting fxramper (Reply 5):
I also heard if your outside grilling or smoking you'll get a ticket or arrested


I do not know about Texas but outside grilling in Oklahoma is limited to Gas/Propane grills, nothing about smoking.
As I pointed out earlier around here most fires have been from equipment and catalytic converters.
The power companies have been pulling power for most of the areas where a fire is near due to damage to poles and the power lines falling causing additional fires as well. Since the areas involved are generally considered rural and do not have water systems then that shuts down the homeowners water well. Some are claiming that it does not take much water on a roof to prevent embers from starting the house on fire but with no electricity for the pumps then they are losing a lot of homes that they should not. I guess I can see their point but not sure that is a very good approach, I will not weigh in on that one other than to say it would be hard to have to walk away from your home without being able to do something.

Okie
 
sccutler
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:27 am

Controlled burns are practiced in remote areas, but would be impractical in the areas such as where the fires being discussed here are burning; they are rural, but by no means undeveloped.

---

I flew from Houston to Dallas yesterday, and "VFR" conditions were at times like being the soup, with the smell of smoke thick in the air. It was very bad.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
KAUST
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:35 am

I was a restaurant in NW Austin called The Oasis On Lake Travis, earlier today, and I could see smoke and flames all along the horizon on the other side of the lake. I kept seeing the manager getting all of the staff together to show them out of the window. It didn't happen as of when I left, but I would not have been at all surprised if they had a mass evacuation of the restaurant and surrounding businesses soon after.

Oh, and ironically? The Oasis once burned completely down and was just recently re-built.


Let's hope and pray for safety, and for comfort of those now without a home.

KAUST
"Houston, this is Apollo 8. We are now in Lunar orbit."
 
blueflyer
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:49 am

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Thread starter):
Don't toss cigarette butts out the car window, or do anything with fire!

It doesn't even take that much. Last year, sparks from a braking train started a small brush fire North of Ft Worth a few miles from my house. Thankfully, it was in an urban area with a busy road right by the tracks, so there wasn't much material to burn and the fire was spotted immediately.

Quoting fxramper (Reply 5):
I also heard if your outside grilling or smoking you'll get a ticket or arrested.

A couple of cities not far from me have simply banned any and all outdoor fires. They don't care what fuel is being used. If it has a flame, it's illegal.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
LoneStarMike
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:09 am

Quoting fxramper (Reply 5):
I also heard if your outside grilling or smoking you'll get a ticket or arrested. Is that the case right now?

They mentioned on the news tonight that policy is in effect for Williamson County. While they are discouraging grilling & smoking outdoors in Travis County, I don't think doing so will get you arrested.

BTW, I read somewhere (unconfirmed) that the Steiner Ranch fire may have been started by overhead power lines. But yesterday, they were saying it was caused by construction work going on at some shopping center being built out in that area.

LoneStarMike
 
dxing
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:54 pm

There was a small fire at the back of our subdivision this morning. Fortunately the fire department got on it quickly and threw a bull dozer into the mix almost immediately. Luck was with us as the winds were light and the fire was brought under control by lunch time. Lost part of the community park and forest down to the creek but no homes. That's the third near miss this summer. We need a td lee badly.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
Mir
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:16 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 6):
Guess Perry needs to lead another 'prayer meeting' to ask 'God' for rain.

I don't know, it was pretty counterproductive last time....

I can't really say anything for Texas (other than that it was insanely hot and dry when I was in Ft. Worth about a week and a half ago and the ground was all brown, but I hadn't been there in so long that I don't know whether that's normal for this time of year or not), but I've been to Oklahoma a lot in recent months, and that place is absolutely parched (and hot as well - I've had three four-day trips there since July, and I don't think the temperature has been below 100F on any of the days). I hope the people out there can keep cool and keep their property unburned.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:15 am

Quoting fxramper (Reply 5):
Cam, go check my house please

You're a hell of a lot closer to it than I am. I'm in Portugal.

The Steiner Ranch fire is only about 2 miles from my house. Fortunately, the winds were blowing it the other direction.

http://deannaroy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/austin-fire.jpg

That is about 40 miles away from where the photo is taken.

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
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fxramper
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:26 am

I miss Austin, Texas despite why it's making the news.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 15):
You're a hell of a lot closer to it than I am. I'm in Portugal.
At the moment your closer. Portugal, I hate you. What city? Try the pastiche in Belem, Portugal.   
 
desertjets
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:41 am

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 12):
BTW, I read somewhere (unconfirmed) that the Steiner Ranch fire may have been started by overhead power lines. But yesterday, they were saying it was caused by construction work going on at some shopping center being built out in that area.

The Los Conchas fire that burned 150,000 acres here in New Mexico this summer was started by a tree limb falling on a power line.... and as dry as it has been throughout the southwest this fire season it looks like it doesn't take much.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 15):
That is about 40 miles away from where the photo is taken.

At least the smoke is blowing away from Austin, back in June when the wallow fire in Arizona was at full force the winds were regularly blowing the smoke up into ABQ.... I can tell you that is not pleasant at all.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
4holer
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:54 pm

Flew yesterday PIT-IAH-PHX.
Sadly, I saw a whole lot of smoke...
Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:23 pm

Quoting fxramper (Reply 16):
What city?

Lagos, then Lisbon tomorrow. Lagos is great!

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:56 pm

UP here in DFW the visibility is nasty. We're getting all the smoke blown up here.

[Edited 2011-09-07 10:56:20]
 
RGElectra80
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:59 pm

Here's a terrifying photo of the fire looming over Elgin, TX (north of Bastrop where the main 30k+ acre fire is):
http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/monstrous-smoke-dwarfs-water-tower
austinspotter.wordpress.com
 
nwa757boy
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:04 pm

I live out near Lake Travis, and it's been real smoggy/hazy the past few days....I'm leaving on a trip today, I hope my place is still around when I get back! There are signs up around the community that say no smoking outside, no cooking outside and no grilling.
 
comorin
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:59 am

Scary...



Image credit: Rey Ramirez, Elgin Fire Department, KXAN site.
 
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fxramper
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:49 am

The fire chief for Austin stayed in Colorado on a vacation because she said "if the fires had been in the city limits it would have been an entirely different thing."

  

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/...-of-town-as-wildfires-1824414.html


Get a load of this article too about the tankers.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=46009
 
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modernArt
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Video of the DC-10 tanker in action on Friday

DC-10 Fire Tanker in Action
 
Type-Rated
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:31 pm

Wow, that is some slow and low flying there...

The tri county fire is sending smoke down to Houston. The other day I was on I-45 just north of The Woodlands and the smoke was so thick that visibility was lowered considerably and some people were driving with their headlights on.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
Okie
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:06 pm

Quoting type-rated (Reply 26):
Wow, that is some slow and low flying there...


Indeed, looks like about all the flaps available leading edge and trailing.

Did you notice the spotter aircraft, single engine, about 3 seconds ahead of the 10. It was visible in the 3rd drop shot of the 10 leaving a smoke trail for the 10 to drop. I assume at different staggered altitudes, in any case how would you like being in the spotter aircraft with a DC-10 three seconds off your tail.

Okie
 
melpax
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RE: Central Texas Fires

Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:37 am

Quoting fxramper (Reply 24):

About as bad as the Police Chief Commissioner down here on the day of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

The day was expected to be a very bad day for fires due to the weather conditions. So said police chief decides to have her hair done & meet with her biographer in the morning, before making an apperance at the emergency control centre in the afternoon. After deciding that her subordinates were dealing with the situation, she then decided to have dinner with some friends, at the same time whole towns were literally being burned off the map (Kinglake & Marysville) and people were being incerated in their own homes. After this became public knowledge she was forced to resign from her offical position (she retired from the police force after being appointed head of the reconstruction authority by the state govenment)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Nixon

Good luck over there, and stay safe.
Essendon - Whatever it takes......

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