Mesquite Heat Fire Monday update: Containment bumps up to 58%; recovery efforts underway

·4 min read

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Mesquite Heat Fire containment bumps up

UPDATE 8:30 P.M. MONDAY

Efforts to fight the Mesquite Heat Fire Monday bumped containment from 52% to 58%, according to an online update about 7:20 p.m. from the Southern Area Incident Management Gold Team.

Rain, cooler temperatures and a higher relative humidity aided in keeping fire activity low Monday.

With the low moisture in the juniper and mesquite trees, isolated single tree torching remains possible. But, fire spread or escape is not expected, the update stated.

Community Foundation Fire Relief Fund raises $113,000-plus

UPDATE 2:45 P.M. MONDAY

Since Thursday, $113,528 has been donated to the Community Foundation of Abilene Big Country Fire Relief Fund to provide support for volunteer fire departments and nonprofits assisting people affected by the Mesquite Heat Fire, President/CEO Katie Alford said Monday.

Donations continue to be accepted because of ongoing containment efforts and damage assessments, she said.

Donations can be made online at cfabilene.org/firerelief.

Community Foundation Fire Relief Fund raises $113,000-plus

Since Thursday, $113,528 has been donated to the Community Foundation of Abilene Big Country Fire Relief Fund to provide support for volunteer fire departments and nonprofits assisting people affected by the Mesquite Heat Fire, President/CEO Katie Alford said Monday.

Donations continue to be accepted because of ongoing containment efforts and damage assessments, she said.

Donations can be made online at cfabilene.org/firerelief.

Prescription assistance for veterans

The Defense Health Agency DHA announced that TRICARE beneficiaries in Taylor County may receive emergency prescription refills now through May 29 due to the Mesquite Heat Fire.

To receive an emergency refill of prescription medications, TRICARE beneficiaries should take their prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy, according to a news release.

If the bottle is unavailable or the label is damaged or missing, beneficiaries should contact Express Scripts or their retail network pharmacy for assistance.

To find a network pharmacy, beneficiaries may call Express Scripts at 877-363-1303.

They may also search the network pharmacy locator at https://militaryrx.express-scripts.com/find-pharmacy.

If possible, visit the pharmacy where the prescription was filled. Prescriptions filled by a retail chain may be filled at another store in that chain.

If the provider is available, beneficiaries can call in a new prescription to any network pharmacy.

Mesquite Heat Fire remains at 52% containment Monday

Fire crews continue to build containment lines on the Mesquite Heat Fire, which was holding at 52% containment and 11,256 acres, according to a Monday lunchtime update from the Southern Area Incident Management Gold Team.

A total of 27 structures have been burned in the fire, of which 20 were residences, said Ginelle Heller, public information officer for the Gold Team.

An estimated 12 to 18 cattle have died, along with unnumbered wildlife.

Work on the fire includes firefighters on the north side mopping up hot spots and connecting dozer lines. The south side of the fire has very rough terrain with draws and canyons, requiring firefighters to build line by hand.

"A night shift worked with landowners moving back into the area to address concerns around structures," the update stated.

Minimal fire behavior was expected Monday because of predicted rain and cloud cover, but isolated flare ups are possible.

"Some isolated spots are being allowed to burn themselves out but are being monitored," according to a Monday Facebook update by the Taylor County Sheriff's Office.

In addition to monitoring flare ups, the more than 215 personnel working on Mesquite Heat Fire were to continue building containment lines, widening lines and connecting gaps where needed.

Crews and responders have come from states as far away as Utah and California to the west, Oklahoma and Montana to the north, the southern region and Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina to the east, said Ginelle Heller, public information officer for the Gold Team.

No serious injuries have been reported among the fire crews, Heller said.

A helicopter, 29 engines, a tractor plow and nine dozers have been deployed to the wildfire.

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Recovery Resource Center opens Tuesday for Mesquite Heat Fire victims

Several agencies and nonprofits are coming together to assist people impacted by the Mesquite Heat Fire.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross is coordinating resources for immediate needs such as cleanup, sheltering and related services, along with Texas Baptist Men, Boots on the Ground and others, according to a news release from Big Country VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Danger).

To assist with long-term financial resourcing, Big Country VOAD is coordinating a Recovery Resource Center Tuesday through Friday at Beltway Park Church South, 4009 Beltway South (FM 707). Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Staff will be available to help with insurance claims, applications for financial aid and more.

Follow the signage for the center accessible via the chapel entrance.

Please bring the following: driver’s license or a form of identification, photos of property damage and insurance information including policy limits and deductible amounts.

For information, email info@acallforhelp.info or dial 211, option 1.

More: Mesquite Heat Fire Sunday update: Containment doubles to 52% by evening

Laura Gutschke is a general assignment reporter and food columnist and manages online content for the Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Mesquite Heat Fire Monday update: Containment bumps up to 58%