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

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Mesquite Heat Fire containment doubled by Sunday evening

UPDATE 9:30 P.M. SUNDAY

Containment of the Mesquite Heat Fire increased to 52% Sunday evening, with acreage involved holding at 11,256, according to an update about 8 p.m. from the Southern Area Incident Management Gold Team.

Looking ahead, fire behavior in pockets of the interior are expected to be low as rainy weather is in the forecast, along with elevated relative humidity, according to the update.

New map Sunday shows area of Mesquite Heat Fire

UPDATE 1:15 P.M. SUNDAY

Almost 150 people are involved in fighting the Mesquite Heat Fire, according to a Sunday update from the Southern Area Incident Management Gold Team.

The Gold Team, under Incident Commander Dave Martin, assumed Saturday morning unified command of the wildfire with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

Assigned resources include 145 personnel, a Type 3 helicopter, 16 engines, a tractor plow and nine dozers.

A new map released Sunday morning shows the wildfire on both sides of U.S. Highway 277 from about View to south to the top of the Callahan Divide hills. The wildfire is stopped before the major descent to Coronado's Camp at FM 89.

The wildfire area also stretches from Hillside Drive on the west side of U.S. Highway 277 to FM 1235 and CR 297 on the east side.

A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire, which applies to drones. Aircraft involved in suppression efforts cannot fly with drones in the area, the Gold Team update stated.

"Firefighters continue to focus on the uncontained firelines along the north, west and southern edges of the fire to limit fire progression. Heavy equipment is working to construct containment lines. Aviation resources are available to assist with any increased fire activity," the update stated.

With the forecast of rain in the next couple days and because of the wildfire's changing of the landscape and soil, debris flows are possible in the area, the Taylor County Sheriff's Office advised in a Sunday morning Facebook post.

AEP making progress on replacing power poles

AEP crews have replaced 170 poles and "restored power to everyone that can receive it," the Taylor County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook Sunday morning.

No more in-person donations needed at View VFD

The View Volunteer Fire Department asks that no more donations be brought to the fire station.

Monetary donations can be made through the Community Foundation of Abilene website at cfabilene.org/community-impact/fire-relief-funds.

Map of Mesquite Heat Fire as of Sunday morning. Total acres is 11,256, with 25% containment.
Map of Mesquite Heat Fire as of Sunday morning. Total acres is 11,256, with 25% containment.

Mesquite Heat Fire stands at 11,256 acres Sunday morning, 25% containment

UPDATE 9:00 A.M. SUNDAY

Infrared flight and more accurate mapping indicate the Mesquite Heat Fire is 11,256 acres and at 25% containment, according to an 8:27 a.m. Sunday update on the Incident Information System website.

"Active, open flame was reported this morning on the eastern side of the fire. Fire intensity was low. Smoldering and some creeping is ongoing. Interior islands have been burning in recent days and that potential exists today as well," the update stated.

Fire crews will continue to construct fire control line on the northern edge of the fire and conduct mop-up and patrol to limit any fire progression to the north.

"Potential persists for more active fire behavior in unburned fuels, and could be a threat where lines are not secured," the update stated.

Despite the morning temperatures in the 50s, fire danger remains high Sunday because of shifting, breezy winds with gusts on the dry landscape.  Humidity levels have increased from single digits in recent days to a forecasted 30% today.

"Smoldering and creeping is occurring, with isolated pockets of unburned interior islands consuming as well. Some of these flareups have been briefly intense. Fuels remain critically dry, and any escape outside the perimeter would likely organize and begin to move very quickly," the update stated.

Evacuation order modified Saturday evening

The Mesquite Heat Fire evacuation order for some roads southwest of View was modified effective 8 p.m. Saturday to allow residents into the area, the Taylor County Sheriff's Office reported on social media.

Deputies will be stationed at Hidden Valley Drive, Braune Road from CR 297 to Hidden Valley Drive and Braune Road from Hidden Valley Drive to Hillside Road to check identification for proof of residency.

Nonresidents will not be permitted to enter those areas, the TCSO said.

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More: Mesquite Heat Fire Saturday update: Containment holds at 25%, US Hwy 277 opened

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: Containment reaches 52% Sunday evening