South Texas Wildfires

Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
171
Location
Corsicana, Texas
I went on a trip to my hunting lease in South Texas this weekend - in the Glass Mountains between Fort Stockton and Marathon, technically known as 'out in the middle of nowhere'. You may have heard about the wildfires that have been burning in Texas this spring - over 2.5 million acres destroyed (but not a disaster area per your President).

To the uninformed, much of this area in South Texas is a wasteland. But actually it is quite full of wild game such as mule deer, elk, javelina, and mountain lions, not to mention domesticated animals such as cattle and buffalo in the flats.

A section of the mountain which escaped the fires:
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And a section that did not:
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The wind-driven fires moved so fast that many of the trees (mainly cedar and pinon pine) were not consumed, but burned just enough to kill them. The cedars that were not burned too badly will recover, but the pinons will take years if not decades to come back. The pinons are a major source of food and cover for the elk and deer herds. Major bummer since we had been involved for years in a state program to build up these herds through a combination of selective harvesting and aggressive feeding of protein supplements.
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Luckily for the ranchers, most of the flatlands did not burn in this particular area. Other areas near Fort Davis and the McDonald Observatory did burn (and continue to burn). In just a cursory drive through the area, I saw several homes and other buildings that had been destroyed, not to mention thousands of acres of farm and grazing lands. Here is a typical view of the high plains and an agave plant in its death bloom - the plant will die after the blooms have finished producing their seeds. The blooms are dripping with sugary sap and draw all kinds of insects and birds to feed. Factoid: One species of the agave is used to make tequila.

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A hummingbird comes to dine as does a woodpecker. As the plant dies, the woodpeckers often build a nest in the hollow stalk.
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Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
300
Location
Scott AFB, IL
Here in San Angelo we were definitely feeling the effects from all the smoke and ash drifting this way. Most of my instructors (Fire academy) went out to these fires to lend a hand, but from my understanding there was just no stopping them at all. Sad to see all of the damage here, but hopefully the grow back will be good for the land as well.
 
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