Update: Homeowners can obtain pass to return home
Sun, 27 Feb 2011 20:27:42 GMT —
UPDATE 9:40 p.m. Pronews 7 has confirmed at least seven homes were destroyed in the Lake Tanglewood area. Those homes are at:136 S. Shore110 S. Shore102 S. Shore118 Bay Shore143 Bay Shore120 Bay Shore102 Port-O-Call
UPDATE 5:50 p.m. Randall County Sheriff's Department says the Palisades area will likely be closed until tomorrow.
UPDATE 3:51 p.m. Tanglewood residents are now allowed to return to their homes. Only residents can enter the area.
UPDATE 3:18 p.m. More than 35,000 acres burned in Hutchinson County, according to Danny Richards, Hutchinson County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Firefighters are still working hotspots and they plan to be there throughout the day and into the night. 35 fire trucks worked to contain the fire before it reached Skellytown in Carson County. No homes were damaged, but some outbuilding were burned, Richards said.
UPDATE 3:10 p.m. In Wheeler County, firefighters continue to work hotspots. Ken Daughtry, Wheeler County Emergency Management Coordinator tell Pronews 7 2500 acres burned three miles east of wheeler. Eight fire departments resonded and no in juries were reported.
UPDATE 1:22 p.m. Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas confirmed 29-34 houses were burned including one building at Willow. In Potter County, 61,000 acres burned.
UPDATE 1:16 p.m. Potter County homeowners can obtain a pass to get access to their neighborhoods at Lighthouse Baptist Church. Power is not on in the area but homeowners can stay the night. Homeowners are asked to keep their pass because it's good for all day Monday and Tuesday.
UPDATE 1:05 p.m. Austin Lyn Stephens, 52, was arrested for criminal trespassing after he allegedly started the fire by grinding metal and cutting pipe, Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said in a press conference Monday afternoon.
The press conference was emotional, but Thomas explained it was accidental. One Potter County Deputy was injured. He suffered smoke inhalation. No other injuries are being reported.Read more Red Cross needs your help Photos from you First aerial photos of damage
UPDATE 12:15 p.m. Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas will be holding a press conference at 1:00 to discuss the fires in Potter County. Thomas is expected to give instructions for residents to return to their property.
UPDATE 11:40 a.m. The City of Amarillo has started their initial assessment of the damage in Potter and Randall Counties, those assessments are expected to take most of the day. The city said animal control units have been out since early Monday morning, looking for displaced animals. A local veterinarian is working with animal control, checking out horses in the area to determine if they need treatment. The city stated that 10 dogs and 3 cats from the Willow Creek Kennel were taken to the Swan Animal Hospital last night, 9 more animals from Randall County were taken to the animal control shelters by their owners to be housed for the night.
UPDATE 10:08 a.m. Willowcreek South Complex and Tanglewood Fire Updates as of 9:30 a.m.: Mesilla Park residents are still restricted from entering the area. Potter County Incident Command is currently addressing hot spots and other hazards in the area. Initial damage assessment will be conducted this morning. Residents will be allowed access to the area later this morning, but will be required to present I.D. to gain access.
Timbercreek, Palisades, & Tanglewood residents are still restricted from entering the area. Randall County Incident Command is currently addressing hot spots and downed utility issues. Initial damage assessment will be conducted this morning. Residents in all three locations will be allowed access to the area (although potentially limited due to downed utilities).
River Road Baptist Church, 8601 River Road, continues to assist families but has been closed as a shelter location. Cowboy Church at Loop 335 and South Washington remains open to assist displaced residents. The City of Amarillo is working with mass care volunteer agencies to transition this assistance operation into a Joint Assistance Center, additional information will follow. Authority-Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management
UPDATE 7:20 a.m. Pronews 7 has learned emergency officials in Randall County will be holding a briefing at 8:00 this morning.
At that time, it will be decided when people will be allowed to return to their homes in Randall County. As of now, both Lake Tanglewood and the Palisades remain closed to the public, the Mesilla Park area in Potter County also remains under a voluntary evacuation as well.
Pronews 7 will continue to update this page and on-air as information becomes available.
UPDATE 5:30 a.m. Just before 3 this morning, we were told the fire at willow creek is contained, and the fire at Lake Tangelwood and Palasades is under control.
The EOC official said, however, highway on 136 is still closed..
Around 3:30 this morning, we put in another call to Carson County. All fires are under control according to the from the Carson County Sheriff.
UPDATE 10:30 p.m. Potter County Firefighters are working to completely extinguish fires in three to four homes. At this time, approximately 30 houses and 27 out buildings have been destroyed in Mesilla Park. Responders will continue working to contain the fires through the night.
Potter County Officials have opened Worley Drive and Monk Street to provide access to homes in unaffected areas.
Approximately 150 personnel and more than 50 units of equipment from Amarillo and the Panhandle responded to the incident.
The City of Amarillo will begin damage assessment for the affected areas Monday morning.
Randall County Fire units continue responding to fires in the area of the Palisades. Approximately twenty homes were burned in the Palisades. Four homes destroyed in Timbercreek and four in Lake Tanglewood. Randall County fire personnel continue working to contain the fires through the night.
Thirty-five Amarillo Fire Department firefighters and five engines responded to the incident. Randall County fire will work to determine personnel and units of equipment as soon as possible.
Shelters: River Road Baptist Church at 8600 River RoadCowboy Church at Loop 335 & S Washington (806) 622-8000.
Information from Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management
UPDATE 9:42 p.m. Singer/songwriter Susan Gibson whose hometown is Amarillo has posted on Facebook that all proceeds of the purchase of her song, 'It's Rainin' Outside Today, Hooray' will go to the Amarillo fire victims. Gibson wrote the famous song, 'Wide Open Spaces' by the Dixie Chicks.
UPDATE 9:38 p.m. The Texas Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross continues its response to the local wildfires by providing shelters at the River Road Baptist Church (8600 River Road) and the Cowboy Church (8827 Washington). The chapter is also providing support to the fire responders in the Lake Tanglewood area.T he Chapter wishes to thank all the individuals and businesses that have stepped forward to donate bottled water, food and individual snacks.
Red Cross response will be maintained to meet the immediate needs of fire victims in the Panhandle. Community financial support is greatly needed to help maintain the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross.
UPDATE 9:26 p.m. Pronews 7 first told you about how WIllow Creek Kennels burned down. Now, we are learning some of the animals have been rescued from the facility. To find out if your dog is there, call them at 383-6155. Several dogs were let loose but 34 dogs were confirmed alive.
UPDATE 9:20 p.m. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze eight miles east of Borger near Jim's Lake, according to Danny Richards, Emergency Coordinator. He says crews are still monitoring hot spots and flare ups. Officials will begin investigation tomorrow because the size of the fire is still undetermined.
Richards explained the fire started in Carson County at around 2:30 Sunday afternoon. So far, no homes or businesses have been lost. Fire officials are only reporting damage to electric utility poles, tank batteries and oil fields.
The fire is now five percent contained but the fire is so large, crews will be out all night.
UPDATE 9:05 p.m. The fire is out in Moore County, according to Judge Rhodes. He tells Pronews 7 maintainers got to it so it didn't have time to travel far. He estimates it traveling about five miles.
UPDATE 8:50 p.m. Xcel Energy says it is still estimating 500-700 customers in the Texas Panhandle without power tonight. It don't have an estimate on when these customers will be restored. This number doesn't count the areas where power has been cut in fire-affected neighborhoods. These are areas where customers were evacuated, and for some customers, where homes and property were destroyed by fire. Xcel Energy will bring in crews from neighboring towns tomorrow morning to start the process of rebuilding infrastructure in these neighborhoods. The light of day will also give us a chance to determine how many poles and lines were lost. At last count, there were nine poles lost in Borger, 20-25 poles in Mesilla Park and 25 poles lost in the Palisades.
UPDATE 8:30 p.m. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze on the east side of Hutchinson County, Emergency Coordinator Danny Richards told Pronews 7. He said firefighters are starting to bring it under control and the majority is Jim's lake which is seven miles northeast of Borger. Crews will be working the area throughout the night.
While firefighters were able to save Spring Creek School, barns and sheds were lost.
UPDATE 8:13 p.m. Amarillo Emergency Management says a fire started at about 1:21 p.m. in the area of Echo and St. Francis. The fire burned to the northeast and into Mesilla Park. Approximately 27 structures were destroyed and 7 structures were damaged. Fire personnel continue working to contain the fires. Two firefighters were reported injured.
In Randall County, fire units responded to fires in the area of the Palisades, Lake Tanglewood, and Hunter's Canyon. At this time, Lake Tanglewood suffered the loss of five homes, and active structure fires continue in the area. Ten to twelve homes were burned in the Palisades. The Hunter's Canyon fire damaged two structures. Randall County fire personnel described these fires as contained. There are no reports of injuries at this time.
Recommended evacuations for the following areas are no longer in effect: Timbercreek Tangleaire Richland Acres Ranch Acres River FallsResidents of these areas can return to their properties if they evacuated.
Reception centers are now closed. Two overnight shelters are open: River Road Baptist Church at 8600 River Road Cowboy Church at Loop 335 & S Washington (806) 622-8000
Law enforcement will work to secure properties in affected areas.
Animals arriving at shelters will be transported to Animal Control. Displaced animals from the fires are being transported to the City of Amarillo's Animal Control shelter. Injured animals are being tended to by a veterinarian.
UPDATE 7:57 p.m. The fire at Tanglewood is still actively burning. 20 houses have been burned, according to fire officials. Houses are also affected in Palisades and Timbercreek.
At Willow Creek, officials say 26 houses burned and one business. The fire burned on the county line of Potter and Carson counties. The fire is 20 percent contained.
UPDATE 7:23 p.m. A new fire is now burning in Moore County, Dumas Fire officials told Pronews 7. The fire is near Bent Ranch which is five miles north of four way on the east side of Hwy. 287.
UPDATE 7:20 p.m. Xcel Energy is now reporting power has been restored to west-central Amarillo. Also, the outage in Panhandle was restored around 5:30 p.m. 562 customers in the Texas Panhandle are now without power.
UPDATE 7:18 p.m. The following areas in Randall County are now released from the evacuation list, according to Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson:TimbercreekTangleaireRichland AcresRanke AcresRiver Falls
UPDATE 7:03 p.m. Farmer's Insurance is asking its customers affected by Sunday's fires to call its claim number at (800) 435- 7764.
UPDATE 6:47 p.m. Pronews 7 is sad to report the Willow Creek Kennel has burned down. Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas confirmed the unfortunate event. It is not clear how many animals died at the kennels.
UPDATE 6:30 p.m. The Palisades area is now closed and no one can enter without permission from the Randall County Sheriff. An order was signed by a Randall County judge to restrict access due to loss of power lines and continuing power in the area. This order is effective immediately and may be enforced by any peace officer.
UPDATE 6:22 p.m. (AP) About 20 homes have burned in several Panhandle subdivisions as wildfires plague parts of the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas.
Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney said two wildfires joined about five miles south of Amarillo to destroy or damage the almost two dozen homes Sunday afternoon.
About 90 miles to the southeast, the town of Matador was ordered evacuated as a wildfire bore down on the small Texas South Plains town. Motley County Judge Jim Meador said at least two homes have burned in the town of about 650 residents.
A wildfire prompted the evacuation of the southeastern part of Borger, about 40 miles northeast of Amarillo. But Borger Emergency Management Coordinator Danny Richards said the imminent threat had eased as of nightfall Sunday.
UPDATE 6:17 p.m. Borger residents are allowed to return into the city at this time. Officials are evacuating the area by Spring Creek School, Graceland East and Texroy.
UPDATE 6:10 p.m. Click on our slide show to see updated maps of where the fires are located.
UPDATE 5:45 p.m. Disaster Declaration issued Mayor Debra McCartt, H.R. Kelley, Acting County Judge for Potter County, and Randall CountyJudge, Ernie Houdashell issued a Disaster Declaration for the City of Amarillo, Potter County and Randall County earlier this afternoon.The declaration assures that needed emergency expenditures from local funds will qualify for reimbursement from federal resources. It also makes other emergency powers immediately available as may be needed to meet the disaster.
At this time, the City of Amarillo, Potter, and Randall County are fully involved in implementing existing emergency operations plans. At the present time, the involved local governments are not requesting volunteers or resources from the community. A formal request will be issued only as needed.
UPDATE 5:20 p.m. Pronews 7 is working to post a map with locations of the fires.
Xcel Energy is reporting around 6,379 customers in the Canyon area lost power between 4:32 and 4:39 because of a transmission line outage. They also report about 1,300 customers in southeast Amarillo lost power between 2 and 3 p.m. when a streetlight pole blew into some power lines at 58th and Bonham.
Currently Xcel Energy has between 800 and 1,000 customers in west central Amarillo without power after wind damaged some substation equipment around 8th and Fannin. Crews are making repairs now.
Around 75 customers are without power along Cactus Street near Loop 335.
Around 1,100 customers are without power in Panhandle.
Xcel Energy has been asked to de-energize the Mesilla Park area as firefighters move to protect that area and put out fires threatening homes.
Fires have threatened our Harrington Generating Station, but that appears to be under control at this point. No plant equipment has been impacted.
Xcel Energy have given local firefighters access to our lagoons at the Harrington-Nichols power so they can bolster their water supplies. The lagoons hold water that has run its course through our cooling towers before it is redistributed through irrigation systems on nearby farms.
UPDATE 5:16 p.m. (AP) Authorities have now ordered the evacuation of the town of Matador as a wildfire threatens to bear down on the community on the Texas South Plains.
Sheriff Chris Spence tells The Associated Press that he was implementing the order Sunday afternoon. KCBD-TV in Lubbock said the evacuation order came from Motley County Judge Ed Smith after weather satellite imagery showed a massive wildfire threatening the town of about 650 residents about 65 miles northeast of Lubbock.
UPDATE 5:11 p.m. The Willow Creek fire has burned more than 1200 acres and is now 20 percent contained.
UPDATE 5:07 p.m. The fire in eastern portions of Hutchinson County jumped Hwy. 152 and is out of control. The areas of Graceland Easy, Spring Creek School area, Texroy addition and all residents northeat of those are affected.
UPDATE 5:00 p.m. Xcel Energy has 800-1,000 customers in west central Amarillo without power after some wind damaged equipment near 8th and Fannin. They have been asked to cut power in Mesilla Park to help in fighting fires in that area. Xcel energy also have outages along Cactus near Loop 335. Firefighters are able to use water from lagoons at Xcel Energy power plants in that area. Pronews 7 is still getting reports of outages scattered around the area.
UPDATE 4:45 p.m. Due to the extreme wild land fires, Randall County is recommending residents in the following neighborhoods to evacuate and follow instructions promptly:-TImbercreek-Tangleaire Estates-Palisades-West side of Lake Tanglewood-Richland Acres-Ranch Acres-Riverfalls- be prepared
For information on evacuation preparedness, click here.
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Pronews 7 has learned that one business and 17 homes have been burned at the Willow Creek fire. Officials have issued an Emergency Disaster Declaration that will allow for the county to receive money from the State if needed. Firefighters from Dumas have been called in and all available resources are being used. 10 percent of the fire is being contained and it has burned 800 acres. The fire has jumped Hwy. 136.
UPDATE 4:15 p.m. Hutchinson County Emergency Operations Coordinator Danny Richards tells Pronews 7 southeast Borger is continuing to be evacuated. Also, the Texrow area is being evacuated. Richards says every available unit is on the fire and they are still not able to bring it under control due to the strong winds. Firefighters are attempting to stop it at Hwy. 152 by putting a firebreak there.
UPDATE 4:10 p.m. Due to extreme wild land fires, the City of Amarillo is requesting residents in the following neighborhoods to evacuate and follow instructions promptly: Mesilla Park All residents east and west of El Rancho Road All residents north and south of Webb Road All residents north of Willow Creek All residents north of Loop 335 and east of Eastern.
UPDATE 4:07 p.m. Carson County tells Pronews 7 there are two fires in the area. The fires are north of Hwy. 60 and west of Panhandle going to the northeast. Officials are issuing a Code Red. The area is on high alert for the possibility of evacuations.
UPDATE 4:04 p.m. Armstrong County is reporting one fire near Wayside. It is not threatening homes yet but many of their trucks are near Briscoe County.Briscoe County is reporting a fire near County Road AA. Officials say some structures have burned.
UPDATE 4:00 p.m. At the Willow fire, more than 800 acres have burned and 10 structures are on fire.Richland Acres has been put on voluntary evactuation and it could soon be mandatory. Officials say the winds have shifted and the fire is now moving toward that development. Macilo Park is getting the brunt of the damage.
UPDATE 3:58 p.m. Due to extreme wild land fires, the City of Amarillo is requesting residents in the following neighborhoods to evacuate and follow instructions promptly:Mesilla ParkAll residents east and west of El Rancho RoadAll residents north and south of Webb RoadAll residents north of Willow CreekAll residents north of Loop 335 and east of Eastern.
Evacuate to one of the following receiving centers at:River Road Baptist Church 8600 River RoadPleasant Valley Methodist Church at 316 Valley
The City of Amarillo is asking citizens to be aware of the danger and take precautions. Emergency responders are prepared to take immediate action to focus resources to ensure life safety for citizens. Call 911 only if you have an emergency.
UPDATE 3:52 p.m.Tangle Aire is now being evacuated.
UPDATE 3:50 p.m. An update on the Sheriff's Deputy injured: The Deputy was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
UPDATE 3:47 p.m. Emergency Operations Evacuation CentersRiver Road Baptist Church at 8600 River RoadPleasant Valley United Methodist at 326 Valley StreetCowboy Church at South Loop 335 and WashingtonCanyon Community Center at 300 16th in Canyon.
UPDATE 3:45 p.m. Pronews 7 crews at the Emergency Operation Center in Potter County tell us the fire that crossed the Fritch highway has burned more than 800 acres.
UPDATE 3:42 p.m. Wes Reeves, spokesman for Xcel Energy tells Pronews 7 there are scattered power outages throughout the area. 500 customers are being affected but no main feeders are down at this time.
UPDATE 3:40 p.m. RANDALL COUNTY -- According to the Texas Forest Service, arequest for assistance came at 2:20 p.m. The estimated size is 300 acres and is burning toward the Canyon Country Club. An evacuation of the country club and residences in the area is being conducted. TFMAS resources have been committed to this fire. Location is at Highway 60 and Arnette Road.
UPDATE 3:38 p.m. POTTER COUNTY -- The Texas Forest Service is reporting a complex of four fires and the estimated total acres is 500. There have been multiple evacuations of recreational vehicles and campers. Texas Forest service bulldozers were dispatched from Childress when the request came at 1:48 p.m. Many homes have been evacuated.
UPDATE 3:35 p.m. Several structures are on fire in Macilo Park.The fire has now jumped the Fritch Highway.
Fire departments are now working a fire inside the city limits at 5701 Hillside
UPDATE 3:31 p.m. Pronews 7 has learned of one injury to a Sheriff officer. Details not available on the extent of the injuries.
UPDATE 3:29 p.m. The City of Amarillo, Potter County and Randall County have activated the Emergency Operations Center and additional resources. All citizens are asked to be aware of the danger and take all necessary precautions.
UPDATE 3:22 pm. According to Borger Emergency Operations, a large grass fire is out of control one mile southeast of Borger. The southeast portion of the city is being evacuated and officials expect the fire to cross Hwy. 152 somewhere near the Graceland East area. Those residents are asked to go to the Aluminum Dome.
UPDATE 3:16 p.m. Highway 136 is now closed south of Fritch due to fires in the area.
UPDATE 3:14 p.m. The Red Cross has opened a receiving center at Cowboy Church near the loop and Washington (8827 S. Washington).
UPDATE 3:10 p.m. Southeast Borger is now being evacuated.
UPDATE 3:08 p.m. Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas tells Pronews 7 that people watching the fire north of the loop and east of Eastern need to leave the area because the are adding to the problem. All people evacuated from Potter County can go to the Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church at 316 Valley Street.Also, Xcel Enegry is reporting sporatic page outages throughout the area.
UPDATE 2:56 p.m. Amarillo Fire Department is reporting the fire near Willow Creek is contained. Also, AFD has called in all off-duty firefighters as they anticipate more fires.
UPDATE 2:53 p.m. Scanner traffic is reporting a shed on Webb Road near a fire is filled with ammunition.
UPDATE 2:45 p.m. Tanglewood is now being evacuated.
UPDATE 2:37 p.m. A mandatory evacuation has now been ordered for these areas in northeast Potter County:Mesilla ParkEl RanchWebb Road Areas of Tanglewood, Timbercreek and Pallsaides should be prepared to evacuate.
Previously posted: Grass fires throughout the area are causing areas of the Panhandle to be evacuated. The areas affected are:North Amarillo-- Echo and St. FrancisWest of Canyon-- Country Club area
Continuous live updates on connectamarillo.com