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Contact: Jennette Jurado, 432-477-1109On Saturday, January 21st, Big Bend National Park received word of a fire burning on the Southeast Rim of the Chisos Mountains. Two park firefighters hiked up to assess the scene. They were able to secure the perimeter, and monitored the scene overnight. The following day, the Los Diablos fire crew arrived on scene, and the crews were able to control the fire with no additional growth.
In total, the blaze burned 3.4 acres, and was kept at this relatively small size by timely reporting by visitors and fast reactions by park personnel. Due to the 2011 drought, roughly one third of the trees in the Chisos Mountains have died, providing a very large fuel load. Additionally, winds were gusting 30-40 mph over the weekend.
Over the weekend, temporary trail and campsite closures were enacted to keep visitors away from the wildfire. All trails were reopened by January 23rd.
Initial investigations suggest that an illegal campfire at Southeast #2 campsite may have been the origin of the blaze, although it is still under investigation. Wood fires are not allowed while car camping or backpacking in the park due to the wildfire risk they pose and the ash they leave behind.
“We are grateful to our fire crews who helped ensure that this fire did not cause any further damage to the park,” says acting Superintendent Vidal Davila. “We remind our visitors to help us with our mission to preserve these beautiful places for generations to come.”