TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Mesquite Heat Fire, which began near Coronado’s Camp, continues to rage on through Wednesday night. KTAB/KRBC is continuing its efforts to keep all updated on the latest news surrounding the fire.
- List of evacuations, road closures and shelter options
- Map of current spread of fire
- How to help
- Additional resources
The Abilene Zoo said it will be rescheduling its Zoolute event for a later date, as the Mesquite Heat fire burns 9,000+ acres in Taylor County.
Thursday, May 19
In an update from the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System just before 1:00 Thursday afternoon, the fire grew to 9,000+ acres in size. Out of the 9,613 acres burning, only 5% of the blaze is contained.
Big Country Airfest 2022, which was initially scheduled to take place in Abilene this weekend, has been canceled due to ‘wildfire contingency operations’ on Dyess Air Force Base.
From the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office: “The City of Abilene is not in any danger from the Mesquite Heat Fire at this time and there are no evacuation orders for any part of Abilene.”
The United Way of Abilene says that physical donations aren’t needed at this time, and citizens are asked to avoid the area, but anyone who wishes to help can make a monetary donation to the Community Foundation of Abilene’s Fire Relief Funds.
US 277 South is closed from View to FM 89
The Texas A&M Forest Service wants to remind the public of the best evacuation practices, as the expect the Mesquite Heat Fire to grow or additional fires to pop up Thursday afternoon, prompting more evacuation orders.
U-Haul is offering free storage to Taylor County residents who have been displaced or impacted by the ongoing Mesquite Heat Fire. 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box® container usage to any affected residents.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning over much of the Abilene area. Weather Service officials say the warning will be in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thursday for the following Big Country counties: Fisher, Nolan, Coke, Runnels, Haskell, Throckmorton, Jones, Shackelford, Taylor, Callahan, and Coleman.
Temperature and wind speed could play a very important role as firefighters battle the Mesquite Heat Fire, which burns in Taylor County for a third day after already destroying at least 5 thousand acres.
Wednesday, May 18
According to urgent correction from Abilene Police, emergency crews urge residents to continue to STAY AWAY from the area.
“We apologize for the confusion,” said the Public Information Office of the Abilene Police Department.
Evacuations have NOT been lifted for Buffalo Gap.
Abilene Fire and Emergency Operations Center say Buffalo Gap residents can return to their homes. Do so with caution, especially if you live west of Buffalo Gap.
Jim Ned CISD is cancelling school Thursday, May 19, in response to numerous displaced families. The announcement came through a Facebook post.
The Abilene Police Department set up shop alongside the Abilene Fire Department, Emergency Management and more to help battle the Mesquite Heat Fire.
‘Disaster’ was declared Wednesday night as the Mesquite Heat Fire burned at least 5,000 acres of Taylor County land.
Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams went live on his Facebook page Wednesday night after meeting with the City. Mayor Williams said up to 1,000 residents across Taylor County were evacuated, with 10 homes lost.
With cooler temperatures expected Wednesday night, Mayor Williams said he is hopeful it will help keep flames of Mesquite Heat Fire from spreading.
Mayor Williams also said Beltway South is available as a shelter to those who need it.
The Mesquite Heat Fire has grown to 5,000 acres, according to the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System. It is 5% contained.
Dyess Air Force Base conducted an ‘accountability recall,’ asking all Air Force personnel to check in with their supervisors.
Camp Able, a Buffalo Gap nonprofit that provides equine therapy to people with disabilities and sanctuary to unwanted or neglected horses, was ordered to evacuate Wednesday evening.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office advised residents in and near Buffalo Gap to prepare to evacuate. Officers are also evacuating east of Highway 277, from FM 1235 to Buffalo Gap.
View Baptist Church said it is grateful for all donations, but is no longer in need of food or water. The church advises giving directly to local volunteer fire departments. They are in need of supplies like goggles, eye drops, water and monetary donations for fuel.
The American Red Cross told KTAB/KRBC it is moving its operations to Beltway South.
Fire containment dropped to 0%. In a tweet from Texas A&M Forest Service, it was announced that the fire jumped containment lines on both flanks.