UPDATE: The Randall County Fire Chief James Amerson declared that the fire in Palo Duro Canyon is under control as of about 5 p.m. Today. The Randall County Mobile Command Unit has been deactivated, but units from the Texas Forestry Service, Randall County Sheriff's Office Deputies and the Emergency Services Unit will remain on the scene throughout the night to monitor the area. If all goes well through the night and there is no rekindling, the park will reopen at 8 a.m.
Although this fire is under control, various other grass fires have been reported in the area. With the drought conditions and high winds at hand, fires will spark easily and get out of control quickly. Please use caution.
UPDATE: Palo Duro Canyon park superintendent Cory Evans said that a portable stove used by a backpacker was likely the cause of the Palo Duro 16-acre wildfire yesterday. Sources say that the backpacker wasn't acting overly careless, and the park hasn't decided whether or not they will press charges. The park is closed until further notice.
Yesterday's fire outbreak in Palo Duro Canyon led to the closure of the park and the evacuation of visitors. Today, Troy Ducheneaux, regional fire coordinator I for the Texas A&M Forest Service, told Pronews 7 that the fire is now about 16 acres in size and 60 percent contained.
Primarily due to the high winds in the area, the helicopter from South Texas that was planned to assist in extinguishing the fire has been cancelled. There are three crews working the blaze using hand tools and water in bladders that they're carrying to the scene.
Extreme fire danger continues to put the panhandle area at risk throughout the day. Light winds throughout the morning will lead to sustained 30-40 mile per hour winds with gusts averaging 60-65 by 7 p.m.
Pronews 7 and Storm Search 7 will provide updates in weather and fire conditions throughout the day.