By Friday morning more than 350 personnel were in Fort Davis to help respond to the McDannald fire, including crews from up to 14 states. (Photo: Sally Beauvais / KRTS)
This morning the new estimate for the McDannald Fire is now estimated at 18,892 acres and is 23 percent contained at this time.
Marfa Public Radio spoke with reporter Sally Beauvais who was at a fire briefing this morning.
She tells us the acreage that’s been reported throughout the week, and whenever we hear about fires, refers to the “actual footprint of the fire.”
“That’s the total affected area of the fire,” says Beauvais. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that that amount of acreage is actually burning.”
The total acreage is a reassessment from Thursday’s total, which were estimated to be at 22,000 acres.
Today’s containment is at 23 percent, which means firefighters have been able to secure that much of the fire’s border. We’re also told that there are several hotspots within that roughly 19,000 acres and that’s what firefighters will be working on Friday.
By Friday morning, the Texas Forest Service said there were 385 personnel on hand to help with the fire response, including fire crews from up to 14 states across the country and a team specially trained to handle larger, more complex fires.
The increased personnel presence has allowed fire officials to initiate night operations.
Today’s weather could bring some challenges to firefighters as well. As reporter Sally Beauvais told us, today’s wind is a complete change in direction. During the last couple of days, the wind was coming out of the south-southwest, and is now heading north-northeast. That change along with increased wind speeds and the terrain could mean there are higher rates of fire spread today if new fires to crop up.
Additionally the rugged terrain has posed some challenges to fighting fires in the Davis Mountains. Fires can crop up in canyons, or on rocky mountainsides, places that are difficult or impossible to reach in a vehicle.
So far, officials say there has been more than $700,000 in resources spent. On Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a grant for the fire, which they say will help pay for resources like supplies and equipment.