From an email from the Fredericksburg Fly Fishers:
News Release, Oasis Fire, Junction, Texas, for Immediate Release May 1, 2011
Firefighters are making headway in containing the Oasis Fire located approximately 4 miles south/southwest of the City of Junction and 4.5 miles south of Interstate 10 west of Junction. The wildfire, which has consumed over 10,000 acres and destroyed ten structures, is now estimated to be 40% contained. Higher humidity and lower wind speeds allowed firefighters to take offensive action against the fire yesterday, including the completion of connecting fire lines around the fire using dozers and other heavy equipment. Previously, the extreme fire weather had forced them to devote most of their efforts toward keeping the fire away from homes and other improvements. The wildfire, named the Oasis Fire for its proximity to the natural gas pipeline crossing the southern portion of Kimble County, originated on the Weisenberg Ranch located off of KC 130, and was reported the afternoon of Tuesday, April 26. Initial assessments conclude that the fire likely originated from a lightning strike during a storm activity days before. Based on current information, most if not all destroyed structures were lost during the first day. At the end of Tuesday, April 26, as the fire spread north to areas around KC 140 and Fox Hollow Road and south towards Little Paint Creek Ranch, an Incident Command Post was established by Kimble County Emergency Management in a field approximately 11 miles south of Junction. An oral disaster declaration was issued by Kimble County Judge Andrew Murr. The ICP serves as a staging area for an influx of equipment and personnel following calls for mutual aid from surrounding local, state and federal entities and provides communications for ground and air resources. During the night of April 26, a northern front entered the area increasing wind speeds from the north, and on Wednesday, April 27, resources continued combating the wildfire as it spread southward. Successful defensive perimeters were established at Little Paint Creek and U.S. Hwy. 377 one mile north of Telegraph at the end of Wednesday, and fire crews worked throughout Thursday to form fire lines around volatile areas. Friday, April 29, continued unfavorable firefighting conditions – strong winds and low humidity – slowing efforts to contain the northern and eastern fire boundaries. Fire crews battled the fire’s northern expansion into Canyon Road and the Joy Creek area during the midday. Terrain near Joy Creek allowed air support crews an opportunity to halt the fire. Mandatory evacuations for residents rear Ranch Road 1674, from KC 171 to KC 273 including McGowan Acres, and for residents from KC 140 to Fox Hollow Road near U.S. Hwy. 377 South of Junction, were issued and later lifted that evening. The Incident Command Post and staging area has now been relocated to the Texas Tech Center at Junction, at the facility’s invitation. This location provides an ability to provide sleeping quarters and a cafeteria for hot meals for firefighters, along with internet access. Presently, officials anticipate that even as the wildfire is brought under control, it may be several days to a week before local, state, and federal resources are released. The Kimble County Ranch Fire Association and the Junction Fire Department, an all-volunteer force, received and continue to receive the assistance of area resources, including: Abilene FD, Alamo Springs VFD, Austin FD, Boerne FD, Brady EMS, Brady VFD, Center Point VFD, City of Junction, Coleman Fire, Comfort, Concho County SO, Concho Valley COG, Divide VFD, Doss VFD, Eden VFD, Edwards County VFD, Elm Grove VFD, Fredericksburg Fire, Freeport Fire, Ft. McKavett VFD, Gillespie County SO, Harper EMS, Harper VFD, Hays County Fire, Hunt VFD, Ingram VFD, Ingram ISD, Kendalia VFD, Kerr County SO, Kimble EMS, Kimble ISD, Llano FD, London VFD, Mason VFD, Medina EMS, Melvin VFD, Menard EMS, Menard ISD, Menard OEM, Menard SO, Menard VFD, Mountain Home VFD, Paint Rock VFD, Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Inc., Peterson Regional Memorial Hospital, Pipe Creek VFD, Placid VFD, Rochelle VFD, San Saba VFD, Sisterdale VFD, Sonora VFD, Stonewall VFD, Tierra Linda VFD, Texas Parks & Wildlife Fire, Texas parks & Wildlife Law Enforcement, Travis County Fire, Turtle Creek VFD, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of public Safety Law Enforcement, Texas Rangers, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, Voca VFD, Wall VFD, Waring VFD, Westlake Fire, and Willow City VFD. All Kimble County road and bridge resources and personnel, along with the Kimble County Sheriff’s Office, were and remain mobilized. Private resources include Cherokee Construction, Ed’s Fix-It Shop, Gardner Construction, Hoffman Services, Irby Construction, Kimble County Prescribed Burn Association, McGuire Well Service, Roy’s Chevron, Simon Bros., Smith Septic, Stroeher & Son Inc., Tillman Construction, and Walton Construction. State and federal resources also include the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Forest Services, National Guard, Regional Advisory Council, U.S. Forest Service – national resources, and U.S. military forces. Importantly, the U.S. Forest Service has provided a hot shot crew, 3 task forces composed of engines and dozers and miscellaneous supervisory personnel. Importantly, air resources have been available daily, and generally have included at least two Texas military Blackhawk helicopters from San Antonio, two U.S. Forest Service specialized firefighting helicopters, and two military C-130 cargo planes from Abilene modified to drop fire retardant, along with a number of private and government spotter, reconnaissance and mapping aircraft. On average, these firefighting aircraft are dropping in excess of 20,000 gallons per day on the Oasis Fire. Additional resources are being assigned to the fire today to relieve local volunteer firefighters who have been fighting the fire since it started Tuesday, April 26. Kimble County officials have also requested and received the assistance of a Type III Lone Star Incident Management Team to assist local officials in planning, logistics and safety. A Texas Department of public Safety communications trailer has been located on Lover’s Leap to assist with communications for ground and air resources. Residents of Junction will notice out-of-town fire trucks from Travis and Hays Counties (Austin Fire Department, Hays County Fire Department, Travis Fire Rescue, and Westlake Fire Department) have been stationed in the city to relieve local resources. These firefighters have driven through neighborhoods to better familiarize themselves in order to respond to local needs. Kimble County officials stress that the presence of these fire engines in Junction is not an indicator that the City of Junction is threatened by the oasis Fire. Currently some 200 local, state, and federal firefighters and support personnel are involved in the suppression effort. Since many of the firefighters who are operating large equipment are from other areas and are not familiar with area roads, local residents are asked to give them a break and use extra caution while the fire suppression is underway. Substantial donations of meals, supplies, bottled water, and other needs have been received from the community. At this time, the Incident Commander, Kimble County Judge Andrew Murr, notes that more than enough bottled water has been received at this time. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are on scene, along with the Junction VFD Auxiliary and the London VFD Auxiliary. The Baptist Men are currently providing hot meals. If you would like to make a monetary donation to defray expenses related to this fire, including the costs of fuel and vehicle repair and maintenance, please make these donations in person to the Kimble County Sheriff’s Office or by mail to the Kimble County Judge at 501 Main Street, Junction, TX 76849. For further information, please contact Kimble County Judge Andrew Murr at (325)446-2724.
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