Over 70,000 acres now burned

June 23, 2011

Shown are Tyler Falcon, Peyton Howard and Billy Monroe, who along with Dale Monroe and Jimmy Johns, (not shown) were trying to save the cows of Jimmy Johns in Nolan County. Many livestock have already perished in the large fire in Maryneal that has consumed over 70,000 acres of land. (Photo by Lori Falcon)

Currently, the Texas Forest Service is assisting local crews put out a handful of fires: two of the more noticeable are in Nolan County near Maryneal and Taylor County near Trent.
A fire blazing in Nolan County torched more than 70,500 acres as of Wednesday evening and is 65 percent contained. There are voluntary evacuations around the community of Maryneal. Eight homes, eight outbuildings and three vehicles were destroyed. A power substation received heavy damage, leaving many without power. Heavy air tankers and single-engine air tankers dropped on this fire. This fire is burning four miles south of Maryneal.
Crews are working not only to battle the blaze, but to restore power to residents in the communities of Maryneal and Nolan.
Residents in the two communities are without water and electricity after the fire knocked out power Monday.
"Our wells are pumped by electricity so we don’t have water at our homes," said Maryneal resident Carol Higdon.
Many are taking shelter at the Maryneal Community Center, which is also serving as a makeshift command center for the Texas Forest Service.
TFS crews were initially unable to help fight the flames, as their resources are stretched thin all over the state.
Taylor Electric linemen are working to restore power. At 8:55 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Taylor Electric linemen successfully energized crucial power line leading to the Maryneal area. The men will now work to restore power to the 400 affected homes in the area and expect to complete this task tonight. Oncor transmission line is still under repair, forcing Taylor Electric crews to reroute power to the area as a temporary fix until Oncor’s high-voltage lines are fully restored, a task that may last several weeks.
Recent wildfires in the region are still a threat to infrastructure and could result in more outages.
"It's kind of rough not being able to do the things you're used to doing," Higdon said.
Another fire has created concerns near the Nolan and Taylor County line called the Trent Mesa Fire.
According to the Texas Forrest Service, the fire is has already burned close to 500 acres and is 50 percent contained.

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