Wildfire Danger Grows on Destocked Public Lands in Far-West Texas


When animals are removed, wildfire risk is increased. Cattle, burros, aoudad and elk will reduce this risk, and help deer, pronghorn and sheep in the process.

NOTE: Post initially appeared on SAExpressNews.com on February 3, 2016

Big Bend National Park Still Burning

Firefighters continue to battle a brush fire that began Monday in Big Bend National Park and has now scorched almost 2,000 acres.

The blaze was ignited by a downed power line.

“No structures have been lost and there have been no injuries,” park spokesman David Elkowitz said. “We’re hoping in the next couple of days to have it under control.”

Driven by high winds, the fire caused power outages Monday at the park headquarters at Panther Junction, at the Rio Grande Village campground and at campgrounds and a hotel at the Chisos Basin.

Since then, winds have subsided and power was restored in the park by Wednesday morning.

“We had about 35 people on the fire yesterday, park personnel and Los Diablos,” Elkowitz said of contract firefighters from the nearby Mexican village Boquillas del Carmen.

“Today we’re expecting another 20 firefighters and a helicopter to work the more remote areas,” he said.

The 800,000 acre park, which opened in 1944, attracts about 315,000 visitors a year. The fire forced the closure of back country camping and temporarily stranded campers at Rio Grande Village.

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