A reminder to all first responders and anyone travelling on Coleman County roadways.....please be very careful as dangerous road conditions prevail across the area. As of late afternoon on Thursday, the Texas Dept of Public Safety and TXDOT had closed US 84 from the Coleman city limits to the Taylor county line near Lawn.
Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat.
Take frequent breaks from the cold. Try to have a nearby shelter or warm vehicle to take breaks in when possible.
Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold. Always wear a hat and gloves and appropriate shoes or boots with several layers of clothing. Scarves or other face coverings help as well.
* Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear. Frostbite is the freezing of a specific body part such as fingers, toes, the nose or earlobes.
In light of the recent State of Disaster Declaration by Governor Perry, we would like everyone to visit the following sites and brush up on precautions to be taken in case of a major wildfire in Coleman County.
A general emergency preparedness site by the Texas Department State Health Services (DSHS) called Ready or Not is an excellent resourse for having your family ready to deal with emergencies. It can be found at : http://www.texasprepares.org/
The site includes this about wildfires:
Wildfires are common in Texas, especially after long periods of drought. They can spread quickly and produce dangerous smoke, threatening property, lives and health. Help reduce your risks by learning how to respond.
What do I need to know about a wildfire in my area?
Be prepared to evacuate. When the threat of wildfires is high, stay tuned to local radio, television or get information from the National Weather Service about NOAA Weather Radio. Be prepared to evacuate immediately. Taking the following precautions can help you evacuate safely and quickly:
Park your car in the direction of escape and keep the windows rolled up to prevent smoke from entering.
Load your family disaster supply kit in the car and keep family photos or other things you plan to take with you nearby.
Don’t let children or other family members stray far from home.
Wear protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants) and keep a handkerchief in your pocket to protect your face.
Confine all pets to one room or area of the yard so you can gather them quickly.
Leave the lights in your home on so that fire fighters can see it through dense smoke.
* Before you leave, call an out-of-town contact and tell them where you plan to go.
What are the health threats of wildfire smoke?
Smoke can pose a serious health threat, especially if you have chronic heart or lung disease. Children and older adults are also at greater risk. Even healthy people can be affected by smoky conditions.
Go to the website to view more information about preparing for wildfires and other emergencies.
On Dec. 21, 2010, Governor Rick Perry signed a proclamation declaring many counties in Texas, including Coleman County, "are currently threatened by an extreme fire hazard due to disaster. Lack of precipitation has dried grass and other vegetation across the state, posing significant fire danger which is expected to continue."
The proclamation also states that under Section 418.014 of the Government Code, Governor Perry is declaring a state of disaster due to the wildfire threat.
That declaration provides assistance to local responders in various forms. Agencies will have access to emergency funding and be eligible for reimbursement by the state and possibly federal government for any wildfire related responses.
Governor Perry's declaration also brings many state resources to assist local agencies should they be needed. These agencies include the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Forestry Service, and many others that can lend equipment and man power to aid responders.
The aim of the declaration is to ease the burden on local governments and fire departments in dealing with potentially explosive fire conditions, while also making the public take heed of the current severe conditions.
Coleman County Judge Hobbs is expected to also issue a proclamation declaring a state of disaster exists for Coleman County with the next few days. Declaring a disaster on the county level allows the the Governor's declaration to apply to Coleman County and making local departments eligible for state and possibly federal assistance.
The Governor's Proclamation is two pages long and can be found at the following link: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/documents/disasterWildfireThreat.pdf
A fire weather watch for Monday has been issued by the National Weather Service. The following is the release.
Statement as of 3:02 AM CST on December 19, 2010
... Fire Weather Watch in effect Monday afternoon...
The National Weather Service in San Angelo has issued a Fire
Weather Watch... which is in effect Monday afternoon.
West to southwest 20 foot winds will increase to 15 to 25 mph...
with higher gusts Monday afternoon. In addition... relative
humidity values are forecast to drop to 15 to 20 percent. These
factors combined with very dry fuels will lead to a high fire
danger. Critical fire weather conditions are expected across the
Concho Valley... Big Country and parts of the Heartland. Elevated
fire weather concerns are expected farther south and east... but
winds should remain below 20 mph.
A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions
forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible red
Remember to be careful when using any heat sources outside, and keep a water supply handy.
The evening of Dec. 17th was a long night for county firefighters.
The evening began about 6:45 pm with a two motor vehicle collision on Hwy 67, just west of FM 1026 involving a tractor trailer hauling cattle and a Ford Taurus. The collision sparked a vehicle fire and a grass fire. Cattle were also loose and had to be contained.
Firefighters from Coleman, Santa Anna, Valera, Talpa and South Coleman County were called to the scene for assistance.
Crews were on scene until almost 2:30 am assisting DPS and Sheriff's Deputies.
A press release from the Dept. of Public Safety can be found on www.Colemannews.com
At about 3:00 am, another call went out for firefighters to respond to a structure fire in Santa Anna.
Santa Anna responded and found a mobile home almost fully involved on arrival. Coleman also responded with an an engine under automatic mutual aid and assisted Santa Anna.
The mobile home was considered a total loss. The cause of the fire was determined to be a space heater in a bedroom.
Crews were still on seen until almost 1100 am Saturday.
About ten minutes till noon on 12-16-2010 a fire was called into 911 Dispatch, reporting a fire at the intersection of FM 503 and Co. Rd. 362.
Crews from Valera, South Coleman Co., and Coleman were dispatched to the fire. A total of five trucks were used at the fire and one personal pickup as a command vehicle.
On arrival, crews found about four acres, mostly bar ditch, on fire. Crews quickly contained the fire before it could spread very far into the pasture. Crews spent almost an hour after initially putting the fire out mopping up all the embers and hot spots because of wind conditions. Firefighters were concerned that the 10 - 15 mph winds could spread embers out of the contained area if they weren't all fully extinguished.
DPS Troopers and Coleman County Sheriff's Deputies were also on hand and assisted with traffic issues due to smoke crossing the highway (please remember to slow down when visibility is obscured) and fire trucks working along the road way.
CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TODAY ACROSS THE BIG COUNTRY AND CONCHO VALLEY. WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 15 TO 25 MPH WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITIES FALLING TO 10 TO 15 PERCENT. THESE WEATHER CONDITIONS ALONG WITH VERY DRY VEGETATION WILL RESULT IN VERY HIGH TO EXTREME FIRE DANGER.
THUS, A RED FLAG WARNING IS IN EFFECT THROUGH 6PM FOR THE BIG COUNTRY AND CONCHO VALLEY.
ELSEWHERE, ELEVATED FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS CAN BE EXPECTED THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON.
Remember with these weather conditions fire will spread quickly and be pushed hard by winds. Be Safe!!
Fight fire aggressively, but provide for safety first - Standard Fire Order #1 must be taken into account at all
times when fighting fire. In order to fight fire safely and aggressively, every firefighter must be able to answer the
Is the suppression method adequate?
Ask yourselves, are we making progress?
Are we beating our
heads against a wall?
Is there a better way to get this done?
Are there adequate resources and time for effective suppression?
Ask yourselves, do we need to retreat and reevaluate?
Have escape routes and safety zones been established?
Retreat if the situation is too complex. Emphasize that safety is everyone’s responsibility; we all
want to be good firefighters and being safe is part of that.