The number of personnel fighting the Scenic Loop Complex Fires is expected to decrease as the fire comes under better control this week. (Photo by Marc Mullis)
By Saturday morning, two Scenic Loop Complex fires were 100 percent contained while other fires had spread across more acres in the Davis Mountains area.
The Scenic Loop Complex fires — which began on June 3 when a lightning storm sparked 18 fires in Jeff Davis County — have blazed for six days straight and affected more than 23,000 acres by Friday night. The Type I Incident Blue Team, a federal response group, has taken command of the fire operations, which has seen multiple fire crews and more than 250 responders from across the country.
The Jones/Phillips and Brooks fires have been 100 percent contained, according to fire officials. Together, the two fires had spread across 1,355.5 acres in the Davis Mountains area. In an operations update, Fort Davis Fire Department’s Jim Fowler said these fires won’t have any crews on them as responders work to control other blazes currently spreading throughout the region.
Fire teams are now working to control the four remaining fires, three of which are currently spreading through the Nature Conservancy in the Davis Mountains. The Long X2, 48 Tank Loop and Windmill fires have affected roughly 12,700 acres of the conservancy. Rainstorms on Friday dropped a half-inch of water on the Long X2 fire. This weekend, Fowler says, crews “will be building and reinforcing the lines on the southwest and south side of the fire and down to the Windmill Fire.” Crews will also build lines on the Windmill and 48 Tank Fires.
Fire crews have set up camp near the area in order to respond quickly to the three fires. The Preserve has been closed to all traffic unrelated to the fires.
On Friday, the Bear Mountain fire still had some active burning, but Fowler says it may have “settled down” overnight.
Fire officials say subdivisions in the region, like the Crow’s Nest and the Davis Mountains Resort, are not threatened by the fires.
Terry Krasko is with the federal response group. He says the Scenic Loop Complex fires acreage affected may grow, not because the fire is spreading, but because they response team will have completed mapping the Scenic Loop Complex’s range.
Among other response tools, crews have been making use of 4 single engine air tankers (SEATs). Krasko says these units can go into “extremely small places” where bigger tankers aren’t able to reach. He says, night time operations are in place to help control the fire.