Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Texas wildfire leaves smoldering community tensions

The acrid odor is another reminder of the monstrous wildfire that torched almost 315,000 acres of ranchland and burned two dozen homes around Fort Davis in April and May. The combination of heavy winds, low humidity and tinder-dry grass and brush created a fast-moving fire that was fought by hundreds of federal, state and regional firefighters for 23 days. Eventually, after consuming almost 500 square miles, the fire was extinguished with no loss of human life. Overall, the community hung together, joining forces to fight the blaze, and in the aftermath, helping those left in need. Although tourists have returned to the parks, cafes and hotels and new green growth is appearing in the blackened moonscape, not all problems are easily overcome. The fire and disagreements about how it should have been fought exposed deep divisions between settlers and newcomers, reflecting long-term societal changes in Jeff Davis County. "The fire didn't create the differences, it exposed them," said Steve Bickerstaff, 65, an Austin lawyer and University of Texas Law School professor, who owns property outside town. Bickerstaff was critical of the county's strategy, saying it seems to favor the interests of large ranchers, and that plans proposed by federal firefighters made more sense...more

Mysterious missing cattle:

Among the lingering mysteries in the aftermath of the great fire is the whereabouts of the large number of missing cattle. "We have about 74 head unaccounted for. We've looked, we've flown, we've looked for buzzards, and found dead animals, but we haven't found the ones we're looking for," McIvor said. "They just vanished. And with everyone looking and riding, it's just odd. There's a good chance they were rustled." Officials in Jeff Davis and Presidio counties say 151 head of cattle and nine horses were killed, and a total of 125 cattle are missing. The wildfire destroyed or damaged hundreds of miles of fences and an untold number of waterlines.

I'll bet the lawyer got them.

1 comment:

bstanley said...

With fire season underway, PREPAREDNESS, not panic or fear, are the operative words.

I lost my house to careless people (a campfire on a windy day) in the Malibu Corral Fire in 2007. People need to prepare for the financial and insurance-related impacts of calamitous events including fires, hurricanes, explosions, earthquakes, floods, thefts, and other unpredictable emergencies. In hind sight, I wish I had done a home inventory!

Here’s a link to a DocuHome home inventory and it’s free...

What If You Lost it All?