“I’ve seen a lot of fire spread out in this country, and I’ve never seen anything like this” Gary Mitschke, Presidio County Emergency Services Coordinator
This was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. We were just hanging out in the campground at Davis Mountains State Park having spent a lazy day walking the hills and visiting town for some shopping. At ~4PM we started to see what looked like a huge dust cloud on the horizon, but didn’t really think much about it. After all, it’d been a very dry and very dusty day (humidity had dropped to the single digits and winds were gusting up to 50MPH). We knew there was a threat of fire, given the conditions, but like all these things you always imagine the actual probability of the thing happening is too remotely low to worry about.
At 5PM the rangers started coming round to tell us to prepare for evacuation. By this time the cloud had grown ominously dark and we could smell the smoke. That’s when we knew it was serious and we were under threat of fire. Only an hour later the evacuation notice was given. Most of the roads were blocked so were diverted to Hwy 118 towards Kent. It was very tight and curved, but Paul did beautifully and about an hour later we were parked in a lot at an abandoned Chevron Station in Kent, TX safe and sound by Hwy 10.
What a ride! Since we got here I’ve learned the fire has engulfed part of the town and is still ranging. We spoke to some RVers at the parking lot last night who said they saw the fire crest the hilltop above the campground as they were leaving. One RV was still there, the owners likely away for a day-trip. We feel both shocked and relieved that we’re out of there. Only yesterday morning we were walking that same hill that burned, and had no inkling of what was to come. Thankfully, as an RV all we need to do is raise our jacks and we’re ready to leave with everything we own in the world, but if we hadn’t been home we might not have known and for the townspeople it’s a whole other matter.
From what I’ve learned the fire started at ~1:30PM yesterday only ~23 miles south of Fort Davis at Marfa and managed to reach town by 6PM fueled by dry vegetation and winds. It moved FAST, so much so that it’s outrun livestock and hasn’t been able to be contained. Thankfully the authorities were on top on the situation and managed to evacuate everyone in time. Everything depends on the conditions today. Although winds died down overnight, they’re expected to pick back up again today and humidity is still dangerously low. We’ll be thinking of the hard-working firemen today and hoping they get it under control. As for us, we’ll probably head into New Mexico, but I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this blaze.
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