On the evening of Feb. 1, a downed power line started a wildland fire that quickly grew ablaze to 500 acres, demanding the support of some 35 firefighters over the course of the next day.
It has since grown to an estimated 1,995 acres, forcing Rio Grande Electric Coop. to work through the night and restore power to Rio Grande Village, according to the Big Bend NPS Facebook page.
— Big Bend NPS (@BigBendNPS) February 2, 2016
“As the initial threat to the housing area, power lines, and other structures has diminished, firefighters work to maintain a good fire break towards these areas,” the National Parks Service said via Facebook. “Other firefighters work to continue suppression efforts on this human-caused wildland fire.”
Earlier in the day on Feb. 1, Marfa Public Radio issued a warning about the potential for hazardous fires.
— Marfa Public Radio (@MarfaRadio) February 1, 2016
The location of the fire, east of Panther Junction, is far away from significant human population. And although the fire was not expected to cause any damage to Big Bend National Park itself, there was high concern among officials that gusty winds could stretch park resources to contain the fire. As a precaution, two backcountry campsites in a portion of the park are currently closed: the Nugent Mountain and Chilicotal campsites.
Additional resources are expected to arrive the evening of Feb. 3 in the ongoing effort to keep the fire from spreading throughout the national landmark.