2011 Texas Fire Storm. April 9.
One of the largest wildfires in Texas history started in the early PM hours a couple miles west of Marfa on Highway 90 in Presidio County, Texas April 9, 2011. Started by a structure fire the fire ran with the gusts of wind between ten and fourteen miles an hour. Its front expanded more than ten miles at times.
The fire storm was hurled through northern Presidio County and burning all the valley land between the Davis, Paisano, and Puertacitas Mountains. The Puertacitas Mountains, Spanish for black hand, was till the 9th cattle grazing land and covered in layers of brush and bush. The fuel burned and cresting over 6,343 feet above sea-level the wildfire overtook dozens of livestock animals.
My brother Jed and I had to pass through two emergency road blocks on Highway 118 to get close to the fire line. Yet, a mile beyond the High Frontier Road the road was not only blocked by emergency responders but by the crazy fire itself.
We witnessed, in stunned fascination two dirty twisters or fire devils. Though like water spouts these phenomena were not technically tornadoes the visual comparisons was something wonderful in a day of woe. The natural disaster produced a violent system around it, seemingly declaring independence from nature itself.
Column of smoke rises near the western slope of the Paisano Mountains.
Highway 118 toward Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County, Texas on April 9, 2011. All access to the historic county seat was crossed by this wildfire. The western side of the fire storm was at war to burn the city. Residents like my brother caught on the other side of the fire from their homes could only stare from the smoky edge of the flame's blockade.
About seven PM the wildfire made an oblique charge as it widened in strength on its northeast path. Everyone on the scene was made to make a quicker charge out of its relentless way. With Fort Davis under siege it was clear by night that all we could do was retreat!
Before the final skedaddle back to Alpine I snapped several images of the sun setting by the summit of Blue Mountain elevation 7,300 feet above sea-level. A basin of fire and ash covers its valley like a red sea. Lit wildly by the sun and April 9th wildfire it indeed appeared like Blue Mountain was circled in a smoky ring of fire.
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