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Accidental Fire That Scorched 10,000 Acres Of Texas Landscape Nearly Contained

The Texas A&M Forest Service has battled a wildfire that has burned 10,000 acres in San Saba and McCullough counties for about a week.

The Forest Service called the blaze the Mays Fire. It reports the fire, located five miles southeast of Rochelle, Texas, is about 85% contained.

“There are currently 75 personnel assigned to this fire, and that also includes two aviation resources, including a Type 1 helicopter and a Type 3 helicopter,” said Erin O’Connor, a spokeswoman for the agency.

A Type 1 chopper can carry up to 2,500 gallons of water, while a Type 1 carries only one-hundred gallons.

O’Connor said the fire started accidentally.

“This fire started as a result of a motorist parking their vehicle in dry grass or idling the vehicle in dry grass,” she said.

The Forest Service warned Texans to not park vehicles or operate heavy machinery in dry grass due to the fire risk.

O'Connor said fire prone conditions persist over much of the state because of current weather patterns.

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Credit Texas A&M Forest Service
The May Fire

“This week the weather pattern will be hot and dry, and that is because of an upper level ridge of high pressure that is positioned over the state, so we’re expecting to see increased activity,” O’Connor said.

Over the past seven days, state and local resources have responded to 53 wildfires that have burned about 12,090 acres. Other large fires were reported in Val Verde and Crockett counties.

Aviation resources have been heavily utilized this wildfire season to assist ground crews in working hotspots and slowing the forward progress of fires, according to a Forest Service news release.

Fire suppression aircraft have logged approximately 160 hours of flight time over the past week.

Efforts involved dropping 56,000 gallons of water and 85,000 gallons of retardant on the Pocket Complex, the Mays Fire, the Beaver Creek Fire in Wilbarger County and the Flag Pond Fire in Lee County.

Aviation resources staged in the state include two Type 1 helicopters, two Type 3 helicopters, nine single-engine air tankers, one heavy air tanker, one lead plane and two air-attack platforms.

Since Jan. 1, state and local resources have responded to 3,077 fires that have burned a total of 171,204 acres, Forest Service officials said.

Aviation resources have flown 1,423 hours, dropping 1,335,172 gallons of water and retardant on Texas wildfires so far this year.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.

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