Collaboration Key to Double Diamond Wildfire Suppression

Burned hillside near lakeshore.
Land scorched by the Double Diamond fire at Lake Meredith NRA. View from Cedar Canyon looking toward Fritch Fortress.

The 2,202-acre Double Diamond wildfire started near Fritch, Texas, late in the afternoon on Sunday, May 11, 2014. The fire traveled over 4.5 miles in a little more than 5 hours. A cold front passed through the area, causing winds to shift, coming from the north at 21 mph gusting to 45. In less than one hour, temperatures dropped 26 degrees. The fire moved through several residential subdivisions and eventually into the park.

The fire destroyed 225 residences and 143 outbuildings near the National Park Service (NPS) boundary. Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument Superintendent Robert Maguire said, “Our hearts go out to those affected by the Double Diamond fire. We know there will be a long healing process for those affected by the fire.”

Approximately 1,455 acres, or 2.3 square miles, burned within the park boundary. No NPS structures were destroyed, although infrastructure, including guardrails at Fritch Fortress, were damaged. “The park did not escape impacts from the fire,” said Superintendent Maguire. He added, “No structures were damaged, but visitors will see areas where the fire swept through and stripped the land of vegetation. Due to the ongoing drought we do not expect to see recovery to vegetation until significant rains occur.”

NPS wildland firefighters were some of the first units on scene, and were heavily involved with suppression efforts in the communities. NPS law enforcement officers were tasked with evacuating residential areas in the path of the oncoming fire. Assistance came from numerous volunteer, county, city, and federal fire departments; private ranch fire units; Texas A&M Forest Service; city, county, and state law enforcement; American Red Cross; Salvation Army; and numerous other organizations and individuals. Units from more than 150 miles away came to assist.

The fire was managed under unified command with the Fritch Volunteer Fire Department, assisted by Texas A&M Forest Service, conducting operations outside of the federal lands, and the Albuquerque Zone Incident Management Team, a Type 3 team, led by Incident Commander Cachini, on park lands. “Our partner agencies worked together seamlessly to provide safe and effective suppression efforts,” said Superintendent Maguire.

Contact: Bruce Fields, fire management officer
Email: e-mail us
Phone: (806) 865-3360 ext 426