As a service to our community, we are gathering all reports on property conditions and fire status that are accurate, preferrably eyewitness accounts from credible sources – all reports are date and time stamped with the most recent being the first entry.
- A blog has been started here to help manage the questions and comments we have been receiving.
- To see where the fires are, go to this map, and click on the box on the left that says "Fire" (under Map Controls).
- Click here to see pictures from around the lake.
- We have created a Relief Fund for our fireghters - please click here if you are interested in making a monetary donation.
- Click here for InciWeb - the page with updates maintained by The Bosses. Click on the PK Complex entry for latest info on our fire.
- United Co-Op Information and PKWSC Information.
SATURDAY, April 30th
Saturday provided cooperative weather for the crews restoring power in the PK Lake Complex. With that said, weather hasn’t deterred the linemen from achieving so much in such little time since the reconstruction of United’s system in PK Lake began in earnest only four days ago on April 27. Today’s progress included 64 new poles set in Hog Bend, Gaines Bend/Sportsman’s World and Hohertz. That, combined with the rebuilding efforts over the previous three days, has allowed United today to energize one of the primary feeders in Hog Bend, a line to the Gaines Bend Condos and all of the Gaines Bend primary feeder line. More work will continue in those communities tomorrow.
United and the other five cooperatives joining the effort have replaced more than half of the poles that succumbed to the wildfires. This is remarkable progress considering the circumstances. Unfortunately, United and its members aren’t the only ones suffering from disaster. United and the other co-ops extend their thoughts and prayers to our electric cooperative family in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia, who have encountered their own disaster in recent days when the tornadoes ripped through those states, rendering hundreds of thousands without power, and who will remain that way for weeks, if not months.
Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
United Cooperative Services
FRIDAY, April 29th
We are going to take a few days this weekend to step away from the computer. We will try to get updates to you as they come in. They may be a little delayed. Thank you for understanding.
Gusty winds that blew soot, sand and other debris in the paths, eyes and faces of the linemen rebuilding United’s system in PK Lake couldn’t weaken the men’s resolve for working to get the power on today for the cooperative’s members. Compounded by the ongoing challenge of drilling into solid rock, many could presume that things aren’t going very fast. Not so.
“I had the opportunity to watch some of these men thrive today in what I would call severely adverse conditions,” said United CEO Ray Beavers. “But, they were literally running from one task to the next. They never took a break. Even when I approached to thank them and pat them on their back for being so dedicated to this cause, they smiled quickly, said a gracious word about how well the PK community has embraced them, then turned around and got back to work,” Beavers added.
And work they have to the tune of approximately energizing 250 members’ meters. Despite the massive devastation to United’s system in Gaines Bend, the crews had rebuilt—by this evening—the majority. They have several more trouble areas to hit over the next few days, but progress has been made more quickly than anticipated.
It’s a similar situation in both Sportsman’s World and Hog Bend. While the destruction was immense, the pace at which the system is being rebuilt is ahead of schedule. Here’s how things stack up:
· 75 new poles framed and installed today between Gaines Bend, Sportsman’s World and Hog Bend (That amounts to more than 150 poles in the first few days of the reconstruction)
· Energized Sportsman’s World primary three-phase line (note: more work is to be done inside the Sportsman’s World complex, but this was a monumental step.)
· Energized Hells Gate Dr. Part Of Hells Gate Loop
· Energized Pecan and Line from Agarita Circle to Just short of Cardinal Cove
· Energized a line North of 254
We encourage our members, even in these challenging times, to support the men in the field trying to bring power and some normalcy back to the area. Some of these men will be leaving Sunday night or Monday morning, replaced by other able, motivated and well-rested crews. Before they leave, we hope the members and community give them a wave or an “atta boy.”
Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
United Cooperative Services
100% CONTAINED!!! Per InciWeb and BRA.
From UCS last night:
Yesterday, the kick-off date for the major rebuilding effort of United’s damaged system near Possum Kingdom Lake, proved to be extremely positive. United crews and line crews from five other electric cooperatives were able to set nearly 70 new poles in one day. Even without consideration for the terrain and the subsurface rock they’re forced to drill through to install poles in many areas, this would be considered an extremely productive effort by industry standards. The crews’ morale is extremely high as they’re motivated to get power restored asap.
“Linemen don’t wish for this type of devastation to occur, but they take immense pride in serving people affected by it. They understand that this is their moment to shine and they are and they will,” said United CEO Ray Beavers. “This is important to them personally and collectively, as it is to everyone at United and at our neighboring cooperatives who have joined the effort.”
Today, things continued to go smoothly with significant progress made in Gaines Bend and Hohertz. As of this evening, the Hohertz primary feeder line was energized to Hohertz Rd., getting power to approximately 25 members. In Gaines Bend, United was able to energize some of the south end –Mesquite Drive /Westend Agarita Circle/Pecan Ridge. This amounts to approximately 70 members. Please be aware that this process will proceed in this fashion. As a section is rebuilt and is capable of being re-energized, that's what will occur. This could energize a single meter at times, or more than 100, depending on the rebuilt section and it's connectivity to the primary feeder line for that area.
Further, the main feeder line from Gaines Bend to Sportsman’s World has been built. All field staking is done for all residential and commercial areas. This is a necessity prior to setting new poles and stringing new distribution lines. There are a handful of oil and gas industry areas that will be staked on April 29. Additional crews came in today from Hamilton Electric Cooperative, which had already sent one crew. Barring any major storm outages leading up to this weekend, there will likely be two additional pressure digger trucks (necessary to drill into the rock to set new poles) to join the other 10 already in the area.
Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
United Cooperative Services
Per Phil Garrett's Office (the Country Attorney) - The County Judge said if there is a minimum of 25 people who didn't have insurance on their homes, we can apply for government help. The County Judge's number is (940) 659-1252. If you did NOT have insurance, give them a call so they can make a list and determine if you qualify for government assistance.
The new community communications platform that will replace this blog is ALMOST done. Been working hard on that last few days. We are hoping it will go live tomorrow.
Status Update from April 27 - From Marty Haught, Sr. Vice Pres, Communications & Public Relations - United Coop:
A little after daybreak this morning, approximately 60 line crew personnel were deployed to various areas of the Possum Kingdom Lake area to initiate what will be the biggest system construction effort to occur at one time in United’s history. To ensure the members and the public are familiar with who is working for them to restore power, the following co-ops are working in the noted areas:
- Gaines Bend main feeder infrastructure – Hamilton Electric Cooperative
- Sportsman’s World main feeder infrastructure – Wise Electric Cooperative and CoServ Electrtic Cooperative
- Sportsman’s World infrastructure – Farmers Electric Cooperative and Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative
- Hog Bend – C&R Electrical Contractors
- Hohertz – United Cooperative Services
United is managing the entire rebuilding effort, directing crew responsibilities, managing contractors, overseeing inventory needs and conducting ongoing safety meetings. Further, the process in which the crews have been, and will continue to be, deployed has been executed in a systematic fashion. Each segment or area in which restoration/rebuilding is occurring or has occurred is done so in a manner that will allow the system to be restored as quickly and reliably as possible. There is a purpose to the order in which each area is being restored/rebuilt and that purpose will ultimately lead to reenergizing the system and getting members safe, reliable electric service. Stay tuned for future updates.
From Deeia Beck, Public Counsel, Office of the Public Insurance Counsel -
"I run a state agency in Austin that can help answer questions about insurance claims related to the fires. Would you post our contact information so folks can call or email if they have questions?"
Web – www.opic.state.tx.us
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Toll free 877–611–6742 (OPIC)
From Sue Cathey earlier today – The Boil Water Alert has been lifted from Gaines Bend. One more step to back to "normal". Hope everyone is getting reestablished. Please let any friends or neighbors know that may not be checking this site. The standpipe is still out of service, but 98% of GB is good to go! Good Luck! Sue Cathey and all your friends at PK Water Supply
Email received this morning: One of the firemen that came up to help from Killeen found a small kitten about 4 weeks old he rescued it and is taking it back to Keleen with him. The name he chose for the kitten is P K, so appropriate for where he found it. This goes to show that something good has come out of all of the trouble.
THURSDAY, April 27th
New Source Broadband (NSB) - a provider of wireless Internet access in the Lake area, reports as of yesterday they are up and running in Gaines Bend and as well as the unaffected Lake neighborhoods. They are offering special packages to evacuees and others at this time, to include no installment fees, etc. Call them at (940) 521-0505 for pricing and details. And please note - their equipment has also been severely damaged - they have put together their system as best they could pending the arrival of new equipment. While their service is stable now, it is not the best indication of their normal service level. You will see improvements as their replacement equipment arrives. They are good guys over there who have been busting their you-know-whats to get things back as quickly as possible.
WEDNESDAY, 4/27/11 - 5:10 am
As we said last night, we've been relatively quiet the last few days (as Dwight Cathy pointed out to us in the Coffee Shop) - trying to get ourselves back to the lake and figure out the new world order. It may seem like we've been on vacation, but here's what we've been doing:
- Moved the SW and GB Property Owner's Associations into the Pondera Headquarters Offices at 1706 Park Rd 36 (next door to the Trading Post). Both POA's have lost service to their offices while utilities are being rebuilt in those neighborhoods. So, if you're looking for either one, now you know where to find them. Come to the side of the building.
- Created a Temporary Housing office to help match displaced homeowners or those who have lost homes with PK property owners who are interested in renting or leasing their property. If you are in need of short-term or long-term housing (or if you know someone who is in need) OR if have housing you can offer at the lake - your home, your guest cottage, etc., please email email@example.com. The Housing Office will also be located at 1706 Park Rd 36 - Pondera HQ office.
- Attended an emergency PK Chamber Meeting to discuss the fire's aftermath and related pressing needs for our community. Of utmost urgency is the need to quickly develop and execute a Public Relations campaign about the lake's viability as a summer vacation destination. We will kick-off our "PK is OK" campaign ASAP. Looking for volunteers with appropriate PR, Marketing and Advertising backgrounds to help. Please email PKisOK@ponderapk.com, or give Jackie a call - 940/445-7622. Need to have plans in place within two weeks.
- We are working on a new website specifically for our community's Fire Recovery discussion - look for that to be online very soon, ideally by week's end. We'll announce it when its up. We will provide links to resources for you as well as facilitate discussion threads on a wide number of topics to help as neighborhoods and homeowners rebuild their infrastructure and homes as well as work on beautification projects.
- We are keeping up with the progress the utility companies are making in the neighborhoods. Very excited that the PK Water Supply Corp reports that water is running again to all homes in Gaines Bend. A Boil Water alert is in effect for that area.
- We have wrapped up the last of the media interviews (we think). Nice to be getting back to a normal fast paced work environment.
- We have been hanging out with several of the "Refugees" at Ruth & Don's Lakeside RV Park. Its a good place for happy hour and reliving some fire stories. If you're in the neighborhood some evening, stop by.
- Speaking of fire stories - there are some very interesting stories out there - while we were busy reporting "Just the Facts" there were busy, busy people behind the lines cooking and caring for hundreds of firefighter guests. These volunteers have some great stories to share (like Alan Fires who was sneaking around in the back of an ambulance deliverying food to the front line firefighters after he was told to evacuate). Would love to collect all these stories in one place - when you catch your breath, send them to FireStories@PonderaPK.com.
- Sadly, we said good-bye to AT&T. Is it just our imagination, or does it seem like cell service at the lake has improved just a little bit the last few days?
We realize we've been relatively quiet the last few days. So much to do and take in now that we're back to the Lake!
Can't believe all the work going on by both United Coop and the PK Water Supply Company. The firefighters did an amazing, superhero-type job to be sure, but the work being performed by the utility companies cannot be discounted or overlooked.
United Coop has what seems like an army methodically and quickly marching through neighborhoods working to restore service to customers in the "affected areas." The PKWSC, with only a handful in their army, was able to turn up water to essentially all of GB today - no small feat! (Note, boil water notice in place.) Makes us feel like "occupancy" in GB is only a heartbeat away.
As we moved about our community Monday and Tuesday reconnecting with friends and colleagues, we've been moved by the stories of so many unsung heroes who've worked behind the scenes to meet the needs of firefighters, law enforcement and homeowners. Makes us so proud to be part of the PK Community. Stories of these inviduals - rare in many communities yet common in ours - will be covered in days to come.
Today we are thankful to be back - some are in their homes while others are near enough to watch their homes from the opposite shore. Today we realized it is just as important to "blog" our recovery efforts as it was to report events surrounding the fire. Today, after a few days rest, we feel prepared to resume the story of our journey – we know PK's response to the fire's aftermath will be just as dramatic as the "fire story" itself.
We are a resilient community. So we've had a little disaster to deal with, but its nothing we can't handle. Our lake is as majestic as it's always been. Our beautiful shoreline is, micraculously, largely intact. Affected homeowners are lining up to rebuild. Our water is pretty, clear and even warm. In short .... PK is OK. Always has been, always will be.
TUESDAY, April 26th
We have confirmation that some homes in Gaines Bend that sit below the water storage have water to their homes.
A second FLIR flight was flown this morning.
Official wording of the Sheriff's order –
Possum Kingdom Lake, and lake access, along with all previously quarantined properties within the PK Complex will be PERMANENTLY RE-OPENED today at 5 pm, Monday, April 25, 2011.
Private security will be in place at affected areas; standard orders of procedures (SOPs) of Homeowners Association will be followed.
Extra patrols will be maintained in the affected areas and lake to prevent looting and to ensure safe driving conditions as firefighters and equipment remain in place. People entering these affected areas are subject to being stopped and identification requested.
Direct from Sheriff Ira Mercer - The Affected Neighborhoods (GB, SW, Hog Bend and Hills Above PK) will be reopened to RESIDENTS at 5 pm today. The neighborhood associations will be reponsible for providing their own security. The waterways will be opened at 5 pm as well. Law enforcement will have a big presence on the lake. Sheriff Mercer stresses that they are very focused on protecting property and they can and will stop people to ensure they have a reason to be in the area. According to Mercer, if you are on a shoreline, you'd better have a good reason to be there.
United Coop asks that you refrain from parking in the roads and in areas near power lines to stay out of the way of the ground crews working to restore power.
APRIL 25, 2011 - 8:13 am
It RAINED. A lot. Reports are that the PK Lake area has received 1.5 inches of rain overnight (some say 1.75 inches?). It took a lot of dancing to make that much rain - good job everyone.
With the exception of uploading the meeting videos as they are ready, we are going to take the day off. The blogs may not be approved for posting very timely since we are going to spend some time with family and get ourselves ready for transition back to the lake. Try and have a restful day. We have the big guns on our side and this will soon pass.
Just have to say again how impressed and appreciative everyone in the PK Community is our VFD and Sheriff's Dept. You guys have done an OUTSTANDING JOB. We're proud to be in the same community as you.
SUNDAY, April 24 - 7:30 am
Last night we attened the PK Fire meeting at the Chamber of Commerce. Below are some highlights from the meeting and videos.
- The fire is 50% CONTAINED!
- Sheriff Mercer and Judge Nicklas want everyone to know the road blocks and evacutations were their decision. Their job is to protect us. They are relying on the fire experts to take care of the fire while they focus on our community.
- The lake waterway will remain closed until they can open up the restricted areas of Gaines Bend, Sportsman's World and Hills Above PK.
- Mercer is working with the POA's to get private security lined up at the gated entry points. The security at these points will continue to work with the SO.
- Aproximately 300 miles of fire line is associated with this fire.
- The Red Team (i.w., The Bosses) took an IR flight at night to see exactly what areas are burning still.
- Fortune Bend fire has 100-120 firefighters on foot due to terrain.
- SAFETY is the number one thing to remember when going back into the area the fire has burned.
- The Sheriff and the Bosses are working on geting the homeowners in as quickly as possible to the restricted areas. Safety is the first concern.
- Video of the meeting is provided below. They will be loaded in several segments to keep load times down. We are uploading now, so it may take several more hours to get them all uploaded (it is now 8:50 am). Be patient - it was about an hour meeting in total, maybe a little longer. There were many great slides that The Bosses presented and they were very informative in helping us understand what is going in their world in fighting this moster of a fire.
- FIRE DANGER IS HIGH MONDAY AND TUESDAY. VERY HIGH. When you watch the video you'll understand why and how things can be easily reignited.
PK Fire Meeting - these will be broken down in batches and will take the better part of the day to load.
PK Co-Op Meeting
3:30 pmThe video of this afternoon's press conference by United Cooperative Services is in the process of being uploaded and formatted to display here. A huge thank you goes to Meredith and Marc Stephens from MPS Studios in Dallas for donating their time today to film these meetings for us.
Here are a few points made in the meeting:
- Fire damages over 180 miles, destroyed an infrastructure that took 60 years to build.
- They will be working with up to 9 other co-ops.
- Hog Bend and Sportsman's World were the hardest hit and will take most time. Approximatel 3 – 4 weeks.
- Gaines Bend should be expedited sooner. About 3 weeks.
- Hills Above PK should be tonight or tomorrow.
- Graford area that has no power, should be up soon.
- If see poles standing wires are probably bad.
- If you want to use a power generator, let them know and they will mark it on the map. This will be to protect workers and people using the generator.
- Power to all houses in a section will be up at same time once restored.
- 1 million to 2 million dollars in damages to date.
- They will spare nothing getting services back on, but it might take a while.
- Be patient as goal is before Memorial Day.
We spoke directly to Sheriff Mercer regarding the meetings at the lake today and he assured us that lake homeowners will be able to get to the meetings. There will be still be Sheriff Deputies and State Troopers around the lake, please remember they are there for our safety.
For those who are unable to make it to the lake: There will be a professional camera crew out here to film the meetings and get them posted online for you. This service is being put together by one of our PK Lake friends who lost their permanent home in the fire. The camera crew who will be filming is graciously donating their services for those who are not here.
I forgot to mention Pam Wheat as one of the many volunteers tirelessly pounding out messages on the keyboard in our communications center.
Ira Mercer has asked for a list of homeowners with losses, the address of the property, the subdivision, insurance company name and the adjuster's name. If you have had a loss, please send all the requested information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Property owners will soon be allowed in with their adjusters and the list will be used to verify those entering. We don't yet know what day or time this will be, but the sooner we can compile the list the better. Thanks!
SATURDAY, April 23 - 4:45 am
Reflections from Friday, April 22
- We had so many BIG developments that we just flat out couldn't do much detailed blogging - highest priority was getting all homeowners back to their homes, whether for a few hours (as in the case of GB and SW residents) or on permanent basis as everyone else experienced about 12 hrs earlier than we predicted. Happy for everyone that got to go in, but hated to see the pain on so many faces. Crazy how life can change in the blink of an eye.
- Was nervous all day for GB and SW residents when the winds picked up with so many hot spots around.
- After spending hours the previous evening responding to a crush of individual emails from residents of non-affected areas, we were pleasantly surprised that the next morning's stack of emails didn't have one argumentative response. Just proves that if you explain what's happening, the people are capable of getting it and dealing.
- Proud that on Day 4 in the all-volunteer Communications Center all seemed to work smoothly. Amazingly volunteers appeared without being scheduled and having already been trained, they just jumped right in and started working the blogs and heavy volume of email. (We get an email about every 15 to 30 seconds and we try to answer each one personally.)
- Never thought I'd see any of the Real Estate Agents at PK become bloggers. You not only have gotten good at it, but I think you're enjoying it just a little bit, aren't you?!! Who are PK's agents-turned-bloggers? Debbie Zahn, Valerie Klapper, Pam Anderson and Dana Kinerd. Thanks for stepping up - the people appreciate it. (Other behind the scenes bloggers include Linda Lynch-Hayward, Mike & Susan Rhoden, Peggy Gibson, Dan Rasmussen and of course, the ever-present Michelle Steuber.)
- Was really taken aback by the number of calls, texts and emails received from people in line at "Checkpoint Charlie" (as one of our "correspondents" quipped). Once inside even more emails and texts came in describing what people were seeing. Cell signals in GB and SW got so jammed we weren't able to explain the delay to many, but realize the Sheriff Ira was keeping us posted. Thanks Michelle for getting out and walking the line explaining the circumstances and helping people be patient - nothing like a little old-fashioned, face-to-face in this high tech world.
- Worked on a plan to switch the blogging platform sometime over the weekend to something robust and PK-branded. Pondera may have started the exchange as a quick fix to get info to the people, but its time the company be removed from the equation and let the exchange flourish as a community-owned asset. Not to worry - our primary bloggers will still be on board as participants and it will still be an information-based, community-focused exchange.
- Worked on a strategy to protect Possum Kingdom from negative publicity, as in "this will take years to recover from" as I head a reporter say. THIS IS SO NOT TRUE. PK does have devastation in some of its neighborhoods, but it still has so many fine attributes and recreational opportunities! We are making plans to kick off a community recovery project asap to manage the message we need the public to hear. We are looking for can-do volunteers on this project - communicastions and marketing professionals, organizers, locals, non-resident "weekenders" - all of you who hundreds of folks who have emailed wondering how and where you can - this is where we need it. If you have a skillset to lend to this huge project - seed money, brains, ideas, creativity, heavy lifters - email email@example.com. Let's whip up something spectacular!
- Am proud of AT&T as they continue to email daily asking what we need in terms of communications support, and letting us know when and where they turn up additional signals to meet the cell communications needs of our firefighters, the fire management team and our locals. Those five bars we can't get used to seeing are going to be hard to give up when the fires are out, but its a trade we're anxious to make.
- Speaking of fire management, had an excellent and accidental private mini-briefing from reps of the fire management team. These guys are true professionals. On the fire-management side, they have it together it seems. Very impressive. They've won our respect. Would be nice if their bosses could learn to communicate a little more frequently and thoroughly, but at least they're getting the job done and that's the priority. For consistency, let's still (respectively) refer to them as "the Bosses."
- Saving the best for last – we had a major development – we received confirmation from GOOGLE late yesterday that they are making a new scan of our lake so we can have a current record of our post-fire landscape revealing the current status of structures around the lake to view in Google Earth .... the best part is we are getting the high res version, just like the big cities have. You guys didn't know how powerful you are as a group, did you? Let's put that power to work and generate the best economic season we've ever seen giving the PK community the boost it needs this summer, k?
Today will be another busy day with the United Coop briefing (that I think we'll be videoing and putting it up on YouTube) and helping people make housing arrangements. And let's not forget that 25th Anniversary Celebration at Mary's over in Strawn. So if the posts are infrequent today, know we're all still here for you, just busy on a multitude of projects and we're also needing a little downtime, too, this weekend.
From The Trading Post – Just wanted to let you guys know we are open for business!
ATTENTION: We just spoke to a Dep. Sheriff who has been with Mercer in the meetings and owners ONLY will be allowed in starting at 5pm.
PLEASE BE PATIENT. This will take a while for people to get in. Please be orderly and respectful of the Sheriff Deputies and State Troopers out there. They are there to help you!
p.s. When you get a chance make sure to thank Sheriff Mercer properly. He has been fighting for all of us!
Okay, hold up a bit. We got that Press Release on the "Bosses" website. We just got a call from the Sheriff (who we LOVE) and they wanted to know where we got the information. The Sheriff's Office is not aware of this, so there's continuing miscommunication and frustrastion in the field. To Sheriff Ira Mercer - hang in there - we are in your corner. Let us know what you want us to do and we'll git it out.
Residents and property owners in and along HWY 2353, the Peninsula (Park Rd 36 and HWY 2951), HWY 254 west of Graford and HWY 16 from Rock Creek RD south to the Cliffs WILL BE OPEN BEGINNING TONIGHT AT 5 PM. READ DETAILS BELOW.
Announcement From Palo Pinto County Sheriff, Judge, and Tx Dept of Public S
Incident: Pk Complex Wildfire
Released: 14 min. ago
Residents of the following Possum Kingdom areas are advised that they will be allowed permanent re-entry into the area to access their homes and properties beginning April 22, 2011 at 5:00pm CDT: residents and property owners in and along HWY 2353, the Peninsula (Park Rd 36 and HWY 2951), HWY 254 west of Graford and HWY 16 from Rock Creek RD south to the Cliffs. These areas will be open to residents only. Road blocks will remain in place to limit access by the public at large. The four subdivisions of Gaines Bend, Sportsman World, Hog Bend and the Hills above the PK will remain closed to residents of those areas since power has not been restored.
There will be a meeting for homeowners returning to these areas to advise them of the continuing risk of wildfires and actions they need to take if wildfire activity changes. This meeting will be held at the PK Chamber of Commerce Building on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00pm.
This coordinated effort from Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer, Judge David Nicklas, and Texas Department of Public Safety will allow for an orderly and safe return of residents to their homes.
There will be NO BOAT access or boating activities allowed on Possum Kingdom Lake until further notice.
The homeowners will be responsible for providing appropriate documentation of rights to the property before access will be allowed into the area. (ex. Tax Deeds, light bill, water bills, a current Texas driver's license with a current address of the affected property, etc)
Each person wishing to enter will have to provide a picture ID before entry will be allowed.
Entry will be allowed at 5:00 PM CDT on April 22, 2011.
The County Judge and / or Sheriff can suspend this re-entry if weather and fire conditions change. All residents should be prepared to leave immediately if a safety issue is identified.
Any resident leaving the affected area with personal property in their vehicles are subject to be asked at the check point for ID's to ensure there is no looting occurring.
Press Relese from United Co-Op:
For Immediate Release
April 21, 2011
United Cooperative Services to Hold Press Conference/Member Info Session on Wildfire Damage and Power Restoration Efforts at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at its Possum Kingdom Lake OfficeCLEBURNE – United Cooperative Services will hold a press conference/member information session at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at its Possum Kingdom Lake Office, located at 1722 Park Rd. 36. United CEO Ray Beavers and key staff will provide a status report on restoration and rebuilding efforts.
Emergency officials announced on April 21 that property owners will soon be admitted into the Possum Kingdom Lake area to allow personal assessments of their properties. As a result, United Cooperative Services has also been able to ramp up its damage assessment efforts now that greater access to the affected areas is being granted. Those damage assessments to its distribution system (poles, lines, transformers, etc.) have not been extensive to date (April 21, 2011) due to a lack of accessibility and emergency safety restrictions. However, early estimates suggest 1,500-1,800 poles and 180 miles of electric distribution line has been affected by the wild fires. This is the first wave of several assessments. This assessment is focused on safety and minimizing safety hazards for those members choosing to access their properties. Area property owners are assuming their own risk for entering areas, whether they’ve been examined by United assessors or not. All power lines should be presumed to be energized and all caution should be used in areas where power lines and infrastructure are damaged or down on the ground.
Following this safety assessment, United will conduct a more detailed assessment to develop a strategic restoration and rebuilding plan. Crews from across the cooperative's seven offices will begin executing that plan as expeditiously as possible and United has outside contractor crews waiting for the green light to assist in the restoration efforts.
Property owners utilizing their own generators to power their facilities and equipment could pose a safety risk to restoration crews as well as the general public. Further, to protect the safety of United crews working in the areas, it is important to notify United if using a generator and where it's located.
United will update members and the media of restoration/rebuilding efforts at 1 p.m. on April 23 at the Possum Kingdom Lake Office (address above). Also, United's Possum Kingdom Lake office will have personnel available Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for members to report safety issues (not restoration issues).
In some cases, there are areas that avoided damage from the fires, but the acreage/landscape between those areas and United’s distribution lines has been burned and United’s infrastructure destroyed. As a result, even areas that seemingly appear to be okay from a fire damage perspective will still be impacted by power outages because the system “up-line” or “down-line” has been severely damaged.
Further, prior to setting new utility poles, the cooperative is required to have Digtess—which helps identify buried facilities before excavators begin digging—locate underground infrastructure, such as pipelines. That process, while necessary to help ensure the safety of United's members and employees, delay the restoration efforts. United encourages members and the public to prepare for such a challenging circumstance.
United emphasizes the need for members and the general public to stay clear of downed power lines. If a power line or utility pole is down, stay clear and call United or local emergency crews.
During a loss of electricity, members of United Cooperative Services should call their area office and report the outage. Have your account number ready to expedite the call:
Glen Rose 254-897-9439
Possum Kingdom 940-779-2985
Marty Haught - Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Relations, United Cooperative Services 817.556.4033
From a west side business - Some on West worried about smoke we are seeing...It is coming off of burnt area...I wish West Side home owners had stayed home but many are here.
We are really shorthanded here today with so many of our blogging volunteers running to collect their things from their residences given they were given a short window of opportunity to do so. We have tons of things to report on ... stand by.
Call for help please! The CEO of United Coop, Ray Beavers, will be holding a public meeting to present their plans for restoring power to affected areas. We asked if they would be willing to participate in a simultaneous webcast of their meeting so that you can hear what they are presenting with your own ears. Problem is we need someone to set that up for us. If you are ready, willing and able please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Meeting is at PK Lake at 1 pm.
In reflecting on the day before we drift off to sleep, wanted to share some things we are thankful for here in the PK War Room:
- A conference room - finally. Can't tell you how great it was to move from a cramped hotel room to a conference room. Ten or more people sitting around on beds and benches with laptops, maps and all combing through photographs and homeowner directories trying to match homes and names got a bit ... well, cozy. Especially as the days wore on. Add the reporters coming and going ... and all I can say is - it is a relief to spread out.
- Breakfast donated by Fuzzy's Tacos. Familiar with Fuzzy's wonderful breakfast burritos? 'Nough said.
- Cell phone service with 5 bars most of the day. Have we mentioned lately how appreciative we are of the COW that AT&T delivered? This was our first full day with adequate cell service and we can only say that there's nothing like 5 bars. Thanks again, AT&T. You and your technicians are great.
- Amy Sabbatini - Amy jumped on board Wednesday as a media contact for us, so Thursday was our first full day of Life with Amy. She fields media calls, dishes out the stories that need telling, does a BEAUTIFUL job coordinating with officials, reporters and networks alike, and helps us strategize ways to keep our firefighter fundraising goals at the forefront of our mission. Amy may be the wife of a pro-golfer, but in our book she's a star.
- The Sabbatini Foundation - thank you! Your generosity is appreciated.
- Sheriff Ira Mercer for fighting hard for us evacuees. We know you have a tough job these days. We get it. Please don't stop, okay?
- For the new volunteers that joined us today. Sure felt good to have so many friends working together sharing the impact of our circumstances and viewing photos as they arrived in batches from the field. The utter devastation is beginning to sink in.
- For reaching $100,000 in donations for our Firefighter Relief Fund. Pretty good for a few days work, but we can do better.
- For the opportunity for all of us to stop working at one time and share a meal together, thanks to Parker County Title (from Wild Mushroom - if you're stuck in Mineral Wells, at least take advantage of a great dining experience just east of here).
- For getting the clearance finally, even if it was at the last minute, from "Management" for homeowners in the hardest hit areas to at least go check on their homes, empty their refrigerators and freezers that have been without electricity for days, and gather whatever personal possessions are needed for an extended evacuation period. (Thanks agan, Sheriff)
We want to start identifying all the Full-Time residents in Gaines Bend, Sportsman's World, Hills Above PK and Hog Bend so that we can get our arms around the issue of locating temporary housing for you. Even if you are a full-time resident in these neighborhoods and don't require temporary housing, we still want to know who you are. Can you please send us an email to email@example.com and give us your names (husband and wife) email addresses and cell phone numbers? We have some ideas on how to provide temporary housing at the lake, but we need to know how many of us there are.
Just wanted to recognize Sheriff Ira Mercer for getting the ball rolling and making something happen this evening. Nice to have you on our side.
Many are frustrated with not gaining access to your homes located in Peninsula, North End and The Cliffs at the same time as those with homes in GB, SW, Hills and Hog Bend. We believe the authorities are tackling this as follows:
Phase 1 - allow seriously affected areas to gain controlled access so that those homeowners can remove spoiled foods (remember, there is no electricity in these subdivisions), gather personal belongings and prepare for an extended absence.
Phase 2 - lift the evacuation order for the unaffected subdivisions and allow those homeowners to return to their residences and resume day to day living, unrestricted. Hate to guess when this is because our job is to keep this blog factual, but if we were betting people, our money is on this weekend.
We want to clarify the press release - we have NOT heard that entry tomorrow in The Cliffs is approved. If someone has information to the contrary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and state your source so we can research.
Ok, on closer examination we realize the Bosses forgot to put the date on the Press Release. We have confirmed Sheriff Ira Mercer that this is for tomorrow, Friday, 4/22/11.
(And once again - thank you to whomever made this possible - we are very glad to get our eyes on our places!)
URGENT AND IMPORTANT - WE HAVE PROGRESS!!
For the full press release - http://inciweb.org/incident/article/2172/11089/
You listened and we thank you!!
Firefighter Fund is for Volunteer Firefighters! We have heard rumors of people thinking the funds are being handed over to the Feds and they are not! The money was raised for the firefighters and is ONLY for the volunteer firefighters.
We would like to thank Fuzzy's Tacos for breakfast and The Wild Mushroom for a fabulous dinner! We had full bellies today!
Update from Keller firefighters in Gaines Bend. They have plenty of food and appreciate everyone's efforts, they had full bellies!
From Larry Anderson -
As a concerned group of evacuated homeowners, we understand that a coordinate plan of action must be in place. Once the benchmarks for the Plan of Action are established, we would really like to be included in the loop so we would know what to anticipate in terms of resuming our lives.
We understand the challenges that an operation this complicated presents and we believe we casn be part of the solution.
Priorities must be established and plans to implement those priorities must be developed. The lines of communication should be cleared up to include all aspects of participants in this situation. We respectfully request to be included as a link in this chain, and feel that we have some talents and resources to contribute.
As a retired public safety servant with more than 34 years service, 20 of which were in a Chief Officer position, I understand the challenges faces in such a monumental endeavor. Please consider the reality that our people need information that is timely and correct.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and would appreciate any consideration given this request.
Signed Larry Anderson, Deputy Chief (Retired), Dallas Fire Rescue
Advice from a 2009 West Side Fire Victim:
As a burned victim 2 years ago April 9th (Easter Weekend also) from the West Side fire. We also suffered total lost. I know for these people things look very bleak. The best advice we can give them at this time is to call their INSURANCE COMPANY.
He told us to start compiling a list of everything we lost. It is easier to do with everything fresh on your mind standing and looking at the devastation then you think. We are so sorry for all of these communities. But you will rise again and their not alone.. That is what Texans do. God Bless our Volunteer Fire Fighters
Thank You and all the volunteers for keeping everyone informed
The Pickering Family
The LCS reports – Driving through Gaines Bend and Sportsman's World, it is a bizarre landscape and the fires did some strange things. Not every house was destroyed. THere could be one completely gone, next door one that was untouched. In GB, a boat sets out, the grass burned beneath it ... it's fine. Power is out as many poles were burned and many lines are down. It will take time to restore power. (this was reported around 3pm on Facebook)
Shawn Gibson reports seeing an "army" of United Co-Op trucks heading into Gaines Bend as he was leaving.
We have been told by the Bosses that the meeting we were anticipating at 7 pm this evening has been cancelled. I think its safe to say that we all understand the inherent danger in smoldering fires, burning tree roots and dangling power lines. We are all well educated, highly successful individuals who understand the concept of working through a process. We do not understand why a disaster management team who surely is following a well-documented model, cannot show us the respect to share an overview of what we can expect in the coming days.
We don't know why an open line of communication cannot be established between management and our disaster victims. Please help us understand.
What we are busy doing, in case you're interested, is painstakingly going through the enormous amount of video and still photograhy that has been forwarded and dropped off to our hotel so that we may identify the state of homes in the affected areas. We have several real estate and citizen volunteers familiar with various neighborhoods thoroughly reviewing each property so that we can communicate with individuals to tell them if a house has been destroyed, if there are any outbuildings left, and examine boat docks so we can comfort people individually and try to give them some idea of what they can expect BEFORE they arrive to see the devastation with their own eyes.
If we fail to blog regularly, its because this is a time-consuming and exhaustive process. We haven't gone anywhere - we are just trying to serve and prioritize our energy.
First Official Press Release from the Bosses that our Communications Center has received - FYI, they have not reached out to us, but we have a very agressive member of our team who kind of insists on them giving us some info (and by the way, we are located right next door):
ANNOUNCEMENTFROM PALO PINTO COUNTY
At this time, needs have been met for food and non-perishable goods for firefighters and evacuees. However, if youhave already collected food or non-perishable goods, please direct them to the following official collection points designated by Palo Pinto County Emergency Services:
FOOD and NON-PERISHABLE ITEMS may be taken to the old David’s Supermarket in the Brazos Mall in Mineral Wells at 2801 Highway 180 E.
CLOTHING AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS for those who have lost their homes may be taken to 115 SW 3rd Street in Mineral Wells, TX. Specific details will be posted on www.inciweb.org regarding needed items (clothing items and sizes, etc.)
POINT OF CONTACT FOR DONATED GOODS IN PALO PINTO COUNTY: Jim Rhodes, Director of Donated Goods, Palo Pinto Emergency Management, 940-325-5654.
All donations of food, non-perishable items, clothing and household goods will bedistributed to volunteer fire departments and evacuees.
FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS ONLY may be sent to the followingaddress:
PossumKingdom Firefighters Relief Fund
GrahamSavings and Loan
Donatedfunds will be distributed among all VOLUNTEER (not state or federal) fire departments responding to the PK Complex in all affected counties. Funds will be distributed on apro-rated basis depending on the number of man-hours the department spent onthe incident.
Pleasenote: There are NO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS authorized to collect donations. If you are a VFD or other organization that has been receiving donations, and you are approached by individuals claiming to be froma federal or state organization “picking up” or “collecting” donations, contactyour local law enforcement.
Please continue to check back on www.inciweb.org for a list of requested items, which will be posted as needs develop.
An example of having "outsiders" report local events:
On abc news they reported that 2 fire fighters have died. I have only heard about the one from Eastland. Do you know if this is true or anything about the other fire fighter?
Answer: There was a firefighter in West Texas (far away) and one in Eastland (much closer, but not from this fire). Hope this clarifies things. NO LOSS OF LIFE BY A FIREFIGHTER FROM THE PK COMPLEX FIRE. Thankfully.
Wanted to let you know that there is a portable clothes washing unit brought in by Jimmy Bankston set up here at the Jr. High. They are willing to wash clothes for anyone affected by the fire. All you have to do is drop it off. They were able to wash clothes for about thirty firefighters last night.
Aubrey Johnson has coordinated and collected over 1200.00 cash from the members of Mira Vista Country Club for the relief fund, checks will be coming in the mail.
Thank you guys so much!
Okay, this is interesting - Google Earth will rescan our lake community apparently under circumstances like this. If anyone can provide some more direction on this and how to get it done - or if anyone has any connections they can push on our behalf - please help? email email@example.com
We are getting SO MANY request for information - understandably - for information about when subdivisions will be opened back up. We are told the "bosses" in the Incident Information System are going to set up meetings this evening at an area hotel or two and give us some OFFICIAL information.
We are hoping an information based operation will actually have some information to share.
This was sent to me and it just seemed so appropriate to share at this time with so many of us struggling with how to react to our circumstances. Realizing we have a choice how we can react ....
It is much easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting!
Just wanted to recognize BNSF for pulling together their corporate partners to help provided us much needed services at our communications hub, and supplies that our men and women in the field have desperately needed. Great to have such a valuable resource in our extended community. Love you guys.
Latest update from The Harbor Management (sent last night at 10:30 pm). Please post if possible, there has been few reports about The Harbor and I know people are concerned: Great news so far from the Harbor and Ranch. Today Ken Whitten's crew drove into the area with the Frank Kent fire engine. The word from Ken is that they were working today putting out hot spots and patrolling the property. There are currently 9 fire engines parked and resting by the Harbor Inn providing excellent protection for the immediate area. We hope to get some rain this evening to help get further ahead of the hot spots that are everywhere. The fire department at this time is asking for cash donations to help purchase supplies when they are needed and keep all equipment repaired. We will check back in soon. Report provided by Jason Stelzer The Harbor on Possum Kingdom Lake
From Dave Bergman on April 20, 2011: We tried to get in this morning (to Sportsman's World) and were firmly turned away. Apparently, there are lines down all over and poles still falling. However, we are trying to get info that we can pass along, in addition to what Laura is already doing.
The fire management has now been taken over by the Southern Area Red Team, a national interagency response team in Atlanta, not FEMA. I have spoken to the local incident manager, Gary Ross, and plan to meet with him to understand their game plan and timetable, as well as to get access for a limited number of people into SW so that we can provide up-to-date info to our homeowners. He understands the need, I think, and is going to request that one or two Board members be given a tour tomorrow. He has to get authorization from the Incident Team Commander, and he is going to try to get back to me tonight or early tomorrow. I have three phone numbers for them, including his cell #, so I think he really does want to cooperate. He gave me a website that they will be updating twice daily that we can all access:www.inciweb.org.
I also stopped at the Sheriff''s office early this afternoon and left a request to call me when he got back in the office.
Eileen Beard has contacted United Co-op, as well. They are waiting for the Fire Marshal to clear them to go in to Sportsman’s World. UCS is anticipating a lengthy rebuild project, based on what they've heard to date, but until they can do an assessment, they can't be specific.
We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate it to the Members, even if incomplete.
From NBC DFW - we'e added this to our online story:http://www.nbcdfw.com/weather/stories/National-Team-Takes-Over-PK-Complex-Wildfire-120289099.html
Hope it helps and you get some good donations!
Thanks NBC Dallas-Fort Worth!
From the Graford Post Office - just wanted to let you know that mail for all the Graford deliveries around the lake is available at the Graford Post Office. We still do not have any idea when delivery will resume at the lake. If any residents would like to pick up their mail we are open from 7:30am- 3:30pm,closed 12pm-1pm for lunch. If there are any questions they may contact the post office at 940-664-3372.
Meant to have this posted before the day got started, but obviously that didn't happen. Just wanted all of you who are following our blog to know that this is the combined effort of a large group of people. This may have started as one person's reaction to help address a need, but without other's joining in to manage the swelling demand for information, this would not be possible.
I'd like to recognize Michelle Steuber as being a co-contributor of these postings. Our voices seem interchangeable these days.
We have a group of people the last few days who have camped in the hotel room with us, laptops on beds, to keep the posts going - Linda Lynch, Pam Wheat, Peggy Gibson, Jason Stelzer and Dan Rasmussen.
From there the group of contributors feeding us information from the field is just too much for me to stop and thank, and in some cases we are wanting to preserve their anonymity - if they get discovered in their hiding places they may be booted out, so enough said about our stealth corp of dedicated individuals.
Forgot to say ... THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO IS HELPING RAISE MUCH NEED FUNDS.
Funds collected so far in the Relief Fund ... $95,000
We have confirmation from a person who has been out for about an hour there is no sign of fire. There is smoke and all it looks like is there are still some hotspots. Power has been on and off all morning and late last night around the Peninsula area.
Drizzle has stopped everything is real damp.
Suddenlink - you got here two minutes after our blog. Thank you!
Just wanted to tell AT&T again how awesome they are for bring us some much needed cell service. We understand you're configuring T-1s for improve throughput, but wanted to let you know we are experiencing GREAT improvement already. You guys are AWESOME.
Suddenlink in Mineral Wells? We talked yesterday and you were going to come set up a dedicated network for us in the conference room at the Holiday Inn. We're ready ... ! (and we are so appreciative of your help.)
Report from the south end of PK - Missed the big rain last night at about 10 pm. Our source woke up this am and looked like it rained a little bit - looks like about as much moisture as what a sprinkler system would distribution in one rotation (pretty descriptive, huh?). Its that wet from the cliff line all the way back to the critical area where the fires were started back there. "Back there" refers to Phase 11 (Castle Rock) where a small fire was quickly put out a day or so ago, and in Phase 13 (Eastern Hills Drive). These are in the far back portion of The Cliffs - the southern part of The Cliffs.
Hwy 16 is ONLY open in Young County.
Good morning, we are back at it again. Sorry for the late post we have finally been able to move to a conference room in the hotel and out of a single room.
We received a report this morning from some people assisting the firefighters in Gaines Bend yesterday. t Yesterday they were working by foot to cut trees down and move them to an area where they would not be in the way or a risk of catching fire again. There are several areas where the roots are burning underground. As they were walking through if they found hotspots or burning roots they were putting them out.
It is still a very dangerous situation. There are power lines hanging in areas where the poles have burned from the ground up. The operations are very organized in there with a lot of trucks and firefighters working.
We cannot retire for the evening without sending a big Thank You to AT&T for bringing out the big guns to aid in our communications efforts. When I last saw them they were still tweaking the system about 10 pm - the guys said they'd be turning it up high enough that all of us in the hotel might want to lower our air conditioner settings before we hit the sack. Looking forward to a day without a thousand dropped calls (okay, that might be an exaggeration, but its in the ballpark). YOU ROCK, AT&T.
Can't stop reading the blogs - hate to leave people hanging on a few important things:
- Just want to say we do not believe there was any loss in Neeley's Slough area.
- We think the fire near the home at 5085 Hells Gate Lp got handled (meaning its all good)
- Yes, we did have a little bit of rain in various areas around the lake - not enough by a long shot though
- The Whataburger survived
- The evacuation order that was lifted yesterday afternoon was for Palo Pinto (the town) - not Palo Pinto County. PK Lake is still under evacuation order, despite what NBC-DFW reports. We asked them to retract that and were told they did around the early evening news time, but we heard it repeated inaccurately during their 10 pm report.
And a little more for another source on the "Loss of Use" insurance rider - this from Ron Hart:Jackie, most insurance companies that offer Homeowner
type insurance in Texas have Loss of Use coverage as
either a default coverage or an optional coverage which
has to be requested and paid for.
If the occupant homeowner can't live in the dwelling because
of loss by a covered peril, the policy will pay all reasonable
increase in living expenses. There's a lot more to this
coverage but this is a start.
There is also Removal coverage. It's worth a call to the agent.
Insurance Information for Evacuees - we have had a few people who know about such things contact us today regarding "displacement" insurance. This basically is a rider on your homeowner's policy that pays for some temporary living expenses if you are evacuated by civil order. If you haven't done so already, you may want to look into this. Here's a bit more info:
Our business is insurance and NO ONE has thought to inform the homeowners at PK & surrounding areas to contact their insurance companies NOW and report claims at least under the “loss of use” section of their homeowners policies, according to DPS Authorities at some of the command posts and various shelters in the area. This coverage provides additional living expenses for hotels, meals, etc for being displaced from your home due to a covered claim. The amount of coverage could vary as it is “normally” 20% of the coverage amount carried on the house structure. I have already contacted Mark at the Lake Country Sun Newspaper and he is going to blurb this both in the newspaper and on their Facebook page. ANYTHING any of you can do to spread this information to the homeowners affected would be greatly appreciate by all we are sure. This will help not only the homeowners but the overcrowding there may be at the local shelters. If you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or the owner of our agency, Christine Huddleston Cell: 817-919-4343.
IT'S A NEW DAY - Thursday, 4/21
Been reading through tons of posts that I've yet to process and a lot of emails that backed up while I was out.
One thing I want to clarify quickly - in the post below at 7:01 pm, where Bob McCormick gave me his observations about the condition of Sportsman's World - when I said the "Y" was burnt, I was NOT referring to the YMCA Camp Grady Spruce (which has no damage)! Those familiar with SW understand the "Y" to be where the road splits. Sorry if I alarmed anyone.
I'm back. We have been so swamped here and operating on little sleep. We needed to take a break and eat a real meal for the first time since this all began. Nice being with close friends from the lake where we could talk about our personal observations and feelings. We have all been affected just like all of you and needed a few hours to process those emotions.
We have more challenges ahead of us all, and getting away from the hotel for a few hours to talk through tomorrow's work and decide how we are going to tackle it was really helpful.
Settled in back in the room, trying to go through a mountain of emails and postings and will begin working through them all. Thank you for giving me some time off. :-)
Bob took videos as they were driving around HG Lp and Dr and where they could see addresses, they would narrate as appropriate.
Bob is giving those videos to us. We'll work on doing something about getting you access to those tomorrow.
I have Bob McCormick, resident from Sportsman's World standing next to me. He's so fresh from SW that I detected the smoke smell on his clothes before he walked into the room.
Bob was interviewed by Good Morning America - look for him at 7 am - lots of good footage there - you'll be able to see some community footage.
Bob reports the following observations:
- The "Y" is completely burnt in all directions.
- The intersection of Hells Gate Lp and Hells Gate Dr is totally burned and all of the houses in the Jowell Creek area up to his house were consumed by fire (his house is 7069 HG Loop).
- The Pemberton's across the street were still there.
- Allen Rhodes house and barn are still there.
- Several houses next to the water just beyond there are still there - everything else has burned (the Alamo house, Mallick House, the flag house in HG cove).
- The UT colored house is still there. Mitchells is still there.
- On the cliffline - the old cabin on the point is gone, the log house leading up to it is gone, the Roger's house is gone.
- The next few houses to the west were there all the way to the Smiths.
- The "Giraffe" house across from pavilion is there.
- There are others that survived as well - this is just a partial download.
- The Hide Away cabins seemed to be all intact.
- The old Pizza Pro burned down.
- Tabor's storage did not burn.
- BC Marina is perfectly fine.
- No condos in that area burned.
- Luchenbach is fine!
So wondering if anyone in the local area has a traditional scanner we can borrow for a few days? Seems the fire chatter moves around to channels the web scanner doesn't pick up and we're experiencing information withdrawal. email firstname.lastname@example.org
We laid eyes on the good folks from AT&T who are working on blasting our hotel room window with some super-duper cell service. We can't thank you enough. You can't even imagine how this will alleviate some big issues in our cozy little communications outpost.
We understand Graford to Graham now open.
If you're wondering why there are lapses in postings - I have to switch to a different mode every so often and answer the tons of emails we are getting.
It would help tremendously if you would scan the blogs for the day - both here and on the interactive blog page - it would alleviate some of the work load. We are working as fast as we can processing hundreds of emails and a ton of information that is coming at us constantly.
FURRS LUMBER YARD JUST TOOK 499 PAIRS GLOVES TO DONATION PLACE.
And so to that last point, the Southern Area Red Team Incident Command (the "management") has issued a press release notifying us that the evacuation has beenlifted for Palo Pinto as of 1500 hours on April 20, 2011. Evacuees can return to their homes. Fire officials have assured local officials that is is safe to return home and be able to come and go as needed. NOTE THIS IS FOR THE TOWN OF PALO PINTO ONLY. This does not apply to the PK Lake area.
Can someone please call NBC DFW and inform them that the evacuation order was lifted for Palo Pinto (the town) ... not Palo Pinto County?
At the end of every day we begin to understand the next round of challenges ahead of us in terms of organizing supplies, volunteers, services to firefighters and keeping our homeowners informed. Today, we are facing the issue of being overwhelmed with the amount of supplies that continue to arrive to help our firefighters. Today, for instance, we have hit a wall in terms of storage capacity. We are a tiny town with small buildings!
What would really help right now is for folks to hold those wonderful supplies they've gathered and let us catch our breath. We are certain we'll need more in a few days, but we just need a day to get our arms around what you so generously have provided.
I continue to hear the bigger need is the cash contributions - I hope to blog later about that this evening when the crush has died down so you can understand how these funds will be utilized. Thanks!
We hear AT&T has arrived with cell service support! Thanks to ALL who made that happen, and thank you very much AT&T.
Per Marsha – Anyone needing West side, Caddo or Stephens Co information email me directily to Marsha@MarshaBettis.com.
Does anyone know how to get access to the fire channel so we can hear what's happening?
Our Apple supplies have arrived thanks to Vickie Leaverton! And a big iThanks to to Apple for donating some of the items. (We are a 90% Apple Shop here at Outpost Headquarters.) And thanks to the Sabbatini Foundation for these supplies.
From the front-line – they would like Cokes, Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper please. Deliver the drinks to the Graford school.
300 pairs of gloves needed!!!!! Please send the gloves to Graford.
We hear its MISTING OUTSIDE!
3:36 pm pm
From Betehany: Thank-you you for everything that you all are doing. I can't tell you how relieving it is to be able to look at the updates. I check it every 10 minutes. My family has had a cabin at PK for over 60 years. This breaks my heart to see this happening. Can you give me more information on the west side of the lake it seems like the blogs are mostly about the other side. Our cabin is located off of Wilson Rd. Thank you so much. May God be with all of you. I hope it rains for the next three days.
We have a stealth "set of eyes" in GB. Can't reach the Bluebonnet area - trees are down. If anyone in GB has a special request, email email@example.com. PLEASE be reasonalbe. Time is of the essence. We will try to check out that Agarita Circle question we had earlier.
We have had an incredible outpouring of supplies for our firefighters! We are told the biggest thing our firefighters need is CASH to buy necessary things like GAS. Thanks.
Per Steve Anderson – Angie Myrick was just informed from the logistics command center that roads in to PK will not be open any sooner than Friday, but possibly Saturday.
From Marsha Bettis:
I need to make a correction: Charlie Spradley is NOT the Owner of Paradise Ranch...that is Paul Pullium.
Hazzard Way, Koko and Pump Station Roads in Caddo are still ok. No structures burned there that Charlie could tell. The firemen are still fighting a bit on that side of the State Park but say it is managable. Caddo does have power thanks to awesome Oncor teams! Hwy 1287 to and from Graham is open. There has been a lot of burn up through there but VERY FEW STRUCTURES THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM THE HWY ARE BURNED. Fire fighters once again did an amazing job of protecting structures where they could.
The State Park North shore and east of the boat ramp looks good. Some fire there but mostly on ridge and in a sort of gully runing parallel to the shoreline so there is still a lot of green over there. There has been no further damage on the West side since night before last when the fire broke out again. That fire burned a few structures behind and to the west of the liquor store. Doe Lane and that area are fine. Troopers said that IF you own property on the West side they will let you in. Otherwise it is helpful to stay away until further notice.
Also, there is a LOT of green and trees still left. Yes, a lot has burned but a lot has survived as well. Amazing to see.
Thank you for the supplies. We do not need any more bandanas or gloves.
Per BRA Post – The Texas Forest Service is now reporting that the PK Complex fire is about 25 percent contained. Road closures remain in place until officials determine the area to be safe.
We are have SUCH A HARD TIME COMMUNICATING HERE ON CELL PHONES. Can't SOMEONE please give us some help with this? AT&T - we hear you but we aren't getting relief. We can't stay on a call for more than 5 secs without dropping. AT&T - please don't call to discuss since the cell signal will only drop - please just show up with resources and give us a hand. PLEASE????
We get several requests about access to subdivisions and homes - please be advised we are trying to get official information we can share. When we have it, you'll have it
Problems being reported with fire close to propane tanks 5085 Hells Gate Lp. FD on it.
We do not believe Camp Grady Spruce has any damage. So far all clear on the Peninsula!
We've got a volunteer for the Mac / supplies run. Thanks Vickie Leaverton!
Fire reported on Hells Gate Loop close to a residence - Sportsman's World. They're on it.
We need some office supplies in our communications hub please. We have CASH to pay for it from a private source (i.e., this will not come from the Relief Fund) - we just need someone to round up these supplies and get them to us:
(4) iMAC power cords
(6) MAC wireless keyboards and mice (bluetooth)
and a few other things from an office supply store. This requires going to Apple and driving supplies to MW to our hotel room so we can keep working. Again, we have the cash from a private foundation - we just need someone to facilitate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can assist.
Hills Above PK -
The house that was lost was on PK Blvd, the road the front gate is on. It was under construction and about half finished. The construction supt. said this morning that all other structures are ok, there are still hot spots they are working on and there is still some smoke. Still no power or water. Hwy 16 from the corner of 337 is closed going South.
Can anybody provide a 501(c)3 for the PK Fire Department? We have some folks wanting to make a separate, private donation. Email email@example.com
Regarding supplies: As of right now the supplies are overflowing thankfully! In the next few days they will be able to get all of the supplies distributed and they will be able to take on more supplies. If you still want to donate supplies please see the needs below.
Cell booster is on its way.
Supplies requested. paper lunch sacks, sandwich wraps to wrap sandwiches in, small collapsable coolers or hard coolers. Please no styro foam, headache powder and bandanas. Deliver these supplies to Graford ISD.
Power and water are on in The Cliffs.
Anyone have acell booster we can borrow for a few days at our hotel in Mineral Wells? We are holed up in a hotel room and are having trouble maintaining cell phone connectivity here. Wondering if this might help just a bit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Per Koby Rogers – Eyewitness report – Smoke is smuldering about 1/4 of a mile north off Hwy. 180 on Hwy. 16 there is no visible fire at this time it is just smoky.
The majority of the land around the entrance to Sportsman's World has been burned but the structures remain standing! From what he can see all of the structures from the entrance to SW to the house just past Anchors Aweigh Storage units on 16 are all still there.
Per Graham Radio – Fire on FM 1287 is 80% contained and hopeful for 95% containment by tonight.Cement Mtn fire is 100% contained.
From Beth Henary Watson, Director of the MW Chamber -
You can thank everyone who advertised in the PK Chamber’s Vacation Guide. We are making copies of the centerfold map and distributing them in person or via fax to the firefighters who are headed our way. It’s a concrete way your members (perhaps unintentionally) supported the firefighters in this emergency by supporting their Chamber.
As you know, we have federal management of the PK Complex effective today. We have been informed that these folks are here to help us and they ARE NOT from FEMA. They are federal agents from some undisclosed agency (working on that one though). We will just affectionately refer to them as "The Bosses" henceforth.
The 4 road graders that were located at the Palo Pinto County Courthouse were relocated to 254. Apparently the Texas Forest Service is "staging" from the Dempsey Heliport located at Palo Pinto (per Phil Garrett).
9:53 amYoung county communications reports no closures out of Graham. Passable between Graford & Graham today.
Marsha Bettis reports that FM 1287 is open.
Additionally, most homes visible from the road between PK and Graham were saved.
Road Closures per Sheriff's Office:
- 16 South to FM 1287
- 16 North to US180
- Division St. in Graford to 337
- Park Road 36 to 2353
- FM4 to 1148
Evacuees - we are learning that some insurance carriers (like Farmers) have clauses that allow for temp housing costs to be paid for when the evacuation is ordered by civil authorities.
Can anyone provide us with road open/closed status pls?
From Phil Garrett, Palo Pinto County Attorney - The palo Pinto Courthouse is closed, although he is keeping his office open until lunch. In front of the bldg are 4 road graters from the highway dept. They are leaving right now to go to different locations.
To Karen Goff - Felix from Classic Lawn Care in MW says that in reference to your house - as of 3 pm to around 5:30 pm yesterday, the house was fie. The yard burned in a few places. He was there with one of my guys helping put the fire out by using hoses from the lighthouse and stretching them across (Way to Go FELIX!).
Report from Caddo via Marsha Bettis via Charlie Spradley (who is the Paradise Ranch owner and who's house is miraculously still standing:
He can see a LONG way from up there and says things look a LOT BETTER across the lake in all directions. He says that he does not think there was anymore loss of homes on Brandy Road over the last couple of days so just the three that have already been identified have been lost. He is going to try to check Hazard Way, Koko and Pump Station roads this morning. Says there were choppers working there yesterday but he could not tell yet what the result was.
Also he and I (Marsha) say if you have not already given HIGH PRAISE to ONCOR and their crews.. they have been replacing power poles as fast as they burn (some 2 or three times) and have done an incredible job keeping power on when at all possible.
Great news from Bobwhite Bluff and Neeley's Slough - Lisa Hester reports there is NO LOSS in BWB/NS but that there are extreme hot spots still there.
Jarret Joslin, owner of Wild Mushroom in Weatherford, is bringing food to firefighters today and tomorrow and he is asking if anyone has a food truck he could use and he will serve joy meals to them for the next several days. Email email@example.com please.
(and if you haven't had a meal at Wild Mushroom, you don't know what your missing - lucky firefighters!)
Confirmed that the fire did jump the river at Fortune Bend; however, they extinguished the fire as soon as that happened. There is still fire reported on the north side.
Palo Pinto is NOT under mandatory evacuation.
We are told that Iliana Cedeno has excellent pictures on Facebook to determine what home status is. Friend her, see accepts everyone. Pictures were taken 9:30 am Tuesday.
Have heard the FW Star Telegram covered our little operation here on the front page of its Metro section today.
Kara Polk reports that her brother-in-law was able to drive down Brandy Rd yesterday. He confirms the three homes lost as previously reported here. Otherwise, everything seemed calm as of about 6 pm last night. The electric company was there and power was back on. Firefighters have been there all week working diligently to keep everything under control.
Good to know ... Thanks, Kara!
Shawn Gibson is going up to do an aerial survey this morning. Expecting more pics of GB later today.
A GB resident, Linda Roberts, has a cat stuck in her garage that needs rescuing. We are looking for someone in the vicinity who can either get her or can at least replenish her food and water. If this is you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll hook you up with someone who has a key.
From our West Side Gal, Marsha Bettis:
I see no fires and the smoke is much better this morning. So far, the two homes on Chapel Road (4401 and 4405) are the only waterfront homes I know of that have burned. There were a few mobile homes behind the liquor store that burned. Also there were a couple of off-the-water homes that burned in the Veal Creek area. Much land has consumed north of the waterfront.
The State Park has a lot of burn, but the campgrounds and cabins look pretty much ok and there is still a lot of green over there on the North side of the park.
Bass Hollow, Possum Hollow and Fox Hollow are all ok. I will go by car along 1148 to the East and look across to Peninsula and North End as best I can and also go to Graham and check with the officers there to see what I can find out about the status of the fire along 1287. Unfortunately we can not go check properties by water as boats on the water interfer with the air support tryng to pick up water. We do not want to make their job more difficult.
(Note - County Judge David Nicklas has ordered the waterways remain clear of boat traffic other than what is needed to support the fire fighting efforts).
We have a request for information on the house next to the "lighthouse" house - any info from anyone? Email email@example.com. Thx.
From Jay Walsworth, Principal of MW High School:
Just wanted to let you know that the Red Cross Evacuation Shelter is up and running at Mineral Wells Junior High School. The Red Cross had about 20 metroplex firefighters come in late last night. They were able to shower and get a few hours of sleep before heading back out this morning. A couple of items they said they need are t-shirts and socks. Oh, also please post that we are having school today.
.... So, if you want to donate to the firefighters some T's and socks, drop off at the MW Jr. High today.
.... And if you're a MW teenager, your principal says get to school.
Not much chatter on the scanners this morning. Waitng for reports to start coming our way.
Just reading through some of the blog postings, questions from folks, etc. - will try to take a swipe at them:
- The Cliffs: power is out, which is understandable with all the downed lines in the area as a whole; no active fires there that we are aware of; no loss of homes. There was a significant fire in the Neeley's Slough / Bobwhite Bluff area between The Cliffs and GB. We do not know if any homes were involved. That fire seems under control now.
- Gaines Bend: we realize this has taken a primary focus yesterday along with Sportsman's World. We try to report equally on all areas of the lake, but we were buried with communications. We had significant loss of property in these two subdivisions. The Forest Service reports 37 homes lost in GB. We hope to roll up our sleeves, get our the maps and pics and verify this number tomorrow.
- Sportsman's World - would also like to double-check the reported loss of 56 homes there.
- The Ranch - fires sprung up but were extinguished. All seems quiet in The Ranch now.
- Harbor - no involvement.
- Peninsula - TFS reports "spot fires" on the Peninsula. Depending on the definition of the Peninsula, the fires that have been in the Ranch could be attributed to the Peninsula. Not sure about this - just speculation as we have not heard of any spot fires elsewhere on the Peninsula - can anyone confirm this information?
- North End - nothig to report.
- Rock Creek - some activity tonight.
- Hills Above PK - status unknown.
- West side - 2 homes lost (which TFS doesn't report); seems quiet over there around the lake area anyway.
- Hog Bend - 24 homes lost; no new information to report.
- Caddo - we know there were losses here, but we don't have a count (and TFS does not report); no new information to report.
Seems the fire north of Palo Pinto has stopped at the river.
April 20, 2011 - 12:04 am
Today, Wednesday, April 20th, is technically Day 7 of the PK Fires, which started on Thursday afternoon of last week. Its hard to believe.
Our plan for Wednesday is to become better organized to meet the needs of firefighters. Although we have endured a critical fire situation for several days now, and not to diminish by any means the work done by firefighters those first few days, it seems it wasn't until Sunday that we realized we had a very big "situation" on our hands and were in full-scale disaster mode.
Monday was our first day of coordinating a large volume of meals, donations, support, communications and the like, and we were not prepared! Can anyone every be prepared for this though? Its true we've experienced some confusion and have been frustrated with what seems like an ever-changing set of circumstances due to the erratic movements of the fire. Its been difficult to coordinate drop off points for food and supplies under these circumstances. Tuesday alone we were evacuated from multiple service locations and at one point were packed to move and then told to stay put as the evacuation order was rescinded. Can you imagine what it takes to pack up a distribution center only to unpack again? Multiply this my the number of locations involved, and you can understand why its been a bit rough over here.
We hope Wednesday will be the day we can stay put and concentrate on providing the best care we can for the brave and weary men and women fighting the fight on our behalf. We hope Wednesday is the day we can finally have some confidence about communicating drop-off locations to the overwhelming multitude of generous donors who seem to be coming out of the woodwork.
And on behalf of the firefighters and the Possum Kingdom community, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Jason Stelzer checks in ...My connection to the Harbor cameras have been restored after being disconnected for some time due to power or internet... I have panned the area and there are no visible fires in the Harbor, Ranch, or Gaines Bend directly across from the Harbor marina.
I have driven to Palo Pinto this evening and witnessed fires to the north-west of Palo Pinto, looks to be around 8-10 miles away, winds are thankfully very calm this evening out west.”
Sounds like they are trying to evacuate Fortune Bend below Morris Sheppard Dam.
Thanks Pam Burnett for providing this info from the TX Forest Service:
Stephens, Young, Palo Pinto Counties, PK Complex – The PK East, PK West, Jackson Ranch and Hohertz fires are burning in close proximity to each other and have been combined into a Fire Complex, with 147,065-plus acres burned. The latest report is that there have been a number of spot fires on the peninsula with no homes lost. Assessment teams have confirmed 56 homes lost at Sportsman World, 37 homes lost at Gaines Bend, 24 homes lost at Hog Bend, and The Cliff area, while threatened, has no confirmed losses. In total, 149 homes and one church lost in the PK Complex.
Marsha Bettis is back on the west side and provides the following report:
From the West side there are no apparent fires over here rght now and it has been quiet all day. Firemen worked all day putting out hot spots. The State Park is completely black (dark). No fires that we can see around the camp grounds or west of there. Hwy 1148 is open to Ivan then Hwy 67 is open either north into Graham or South into Breckenridge. There is a road block at the intersection of 1148 and 1287 where they are stopping any traffic. Residents can come in and out but others are turned around. Hwy 1287 to Graham from the West side is still closed. The fire between Graham and the West sde is still burning.
Per Jo Lynn Miller in Rock Creek - Power restored. No visible flames in any direction from hilltop at Rock Creek Loop of 16 north.
There have been several rumors spreading about fires at The Ranch. Here is the latest from Ken Whitten:
Fire broke out at McAdams Peak in The Ranch common area and burned down to 2353. Helicopters dropped water and put it out. Three small fires have broken out on The Ranch, but they were immediately contained. As of 10 pm tonight there is nothing burning on The Ranch.
Jo Lynn Miller reports that at 8:47 pm they lost power in Rock Creek area and there's heavy smoke.
We have been asked if we still need firefighter supplies (shovels, all that kind of stuff) if the Feds are taking over. That took me some time to research, and the short answer is YES. Here's how it basically works - the feds will manage the fire operations, but the guys in the field still are still local guys - some are "professionals" from various departments and others are "volunteers" from the rural departments. While some of the volunteers will begin returning, many will stay on and continue to work the fires. Some also need to be swapped out for some much needed rehab before they return. All supplies donated that aren't consumed in the course of fire fighting will reside in area firefighting departments.
Holly Trestor reports that their cameras in their home on the Peninsula are still working as of 8:10 pm. That means the electricity is still working on the Peninsula. Thanks Holly.
We would like to know if Jim Trestor can still access his cameras on the Peninsula?
Prisoners at the Palo Pinto County Jail are currently being transferred to the Jack County Jail.
This sounds like a small request, but it would be a huge help. Does someone in the Mineral Wells area have a fairly recent, detailed map (like the AID one that we give out in our real estate offices - yeah, didn't think to bring that with me when I evacuated ...) that they could mount to a foam core board and bring to us in our hotel room? We are getting input from people and it would help to have something to reference. If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power is out in The Cliffs.
In case you missed an earlier post about this, the Feds are taking over the management of this fire tomorrow morning. We understand this means, among other things, that our volunteers firefighters can begin to return to their communities where they are needed. Words will never express you much we appreciated their help.
At this time, according to the Mineral Wells Index, there is no emminent danger to Mineral Wells.
Evac Palo Pinto - Courthouse closed; jail evacuated.
We have been working on this project all day. Here are all the pictures of the GB and SW cliff line - we could use your help identifying properties. Please post that information in the comments section underneath each picture.###
We keep getting knocked off line - having so much trouble maintaining computer connectivity AND cell phone connectivity. Have had several ppl call us from service providers but all solutions are not economically feasible and not timely enough. We are trying.
Palo Pinto - winds are from the NW at 17 mph
Mineral Wells - from the NNW at 13 mph gusting at 17 mph
Graham - from the NW at 15 mph gusting at 25.
This just in .... a FWST reporter in Strawn reports that the fire is about 10-15 mins outside of Palo Pinto and there appears to be no stopping it. If you are in Palo Pinto, please leave immediately.
Y'all - we have become totally bogged down. We know we have gotten behind in answering your questions and we are working really hard on getting caught up. We were hit today with barrage of new issues we didn't know how to deal with - everything from coordination of supply deliveries, evacuations of places we had set up to receive supplies, new fire outbreaks, the homes lost in GB and SW and elsewhere, and an onslaught of media. Our focus is communicating and we are trying to get back on point.
Relief Fund has grown to $61,000.
From Ric Hayward:
The Cliffs has not had any fires all day but they are expecting a wind change in the next couple of hours and that could change things. There is an uncontrolled fire in Bracken-Bob White Bluffs area and it could cause problems if it jumps Neeley’s Slough. We have no knowledge of damage due to this particular fire.
We hear the fire has jumped the river at Fortune Bend.
Okay, need to make a correction. Earlier we said Hog Bend was open. I had a temporary mental lapse ... Hog Bend is accessible by water only, and its a little contradictory to say you can go there and then post this:
The Palo Pinto County Judge has ordered the immediate closure of water access at Possum Kingdom Lake to everyone except emergency workers responding to the massive wildfire burning through the area.
NO ONE SHOULD BE ON THE WATER!
Souds like Palo Pinto is about to be evacuated as well as Graford.
Per Margaret Hawkins - We took donations to Graford HS as directed by Graford Fire Dept. They said to get the word out that they have plenty of water and Gatorade and had received food also but are having a hard time getting info to evacuees that bedding, food and etc are available for them.
Gym is set up for evacuees and a very nice GYM. School has been out for 2 days and most of the kids live in PK. They said to report no more Gatorade or water is needed, have it stored at fire ststion and school. They said to get word out that money donations are the best way to give. Several brought checks while we were there and of course through your Paypal acct set up. The only thing firefighters were asking for at noon were tshirts, bandanas to put over mouths and caps.There are women firefighters too so bring tshirts for both.
Can anybody help us get AT&T out to our post in Mineral Well with a mobile cell tower? We are having communication challenges. Anybody got any pull with those folks would be much appreciated.
We hear a few people are getting into their properties in Hog Bend.
A regional effort through the TX Division of Emergency Management has developed a list of items needed to support firefighters involved in the wildland firefighting.
In light of this, any citizens wanting to donate goods from the list can be directed to deliver them to Grapevine Station #1. Any donations other than items on this list should be referred to the Salvation Army or Red Cross. Deadline Date: 4/26/11
Texas Firefighters Need:
Chapstick with Moisturizer (non-flavored)
Sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater
**Electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc) These are preferred over bottled water.
Individually packed collapsable drinks so they can be frozen and packed in a lunch the next day (Capri Sun or something similar)
Gold Bond powder
Cotton T-shirts of all sizes
Cotton Undergarments for men and women of all sizes
Cotton tube socks for men and women
Under Armour type undergarments for men and women of all sizes
Gel packs that can be frozen and worn over their necks
Bandanas that can be wetted and worn
Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal
Grapevine Fire Department
Mike Burress informs us the Ranch Fire was was on Lot G-11 - Burress / Chancellor House. Per Patrick Adams, Mineral Wells PD on site with fire dept, the fire is 100% contained. Good news.
Randy Burdick says hejust watched choppers extinguish fire in The Ranch. "Amazing."
He also reports a few minutes later that they appear to have the Ranch fire under control.
New Item Need: One of the requests we have been notified of is the need for insulated totes to deliver foods to Firefighers. Take to the Oak Street Baptist Church in Graham at First and Oak please. These are needed up in GRAHAM for the west side.
Fire in The Ranch - threatening a structure there.
Back from helicopter ride. Ugh.
Feel sick from witnessing the destruction. Couldn't stay up there all day, so focused on the shoreline of areas hit hardest last night – Gaines Bend and Sportsman's World. Found out just before we took off that the report we received last night that Camp's house was burned was WRONG. As you know, the Texas Aerial Survey dropped off stills from the video they shot this morning. Now we need to find a GB POA member or another knowledgable GB resident to volunteer to help us identify all affected properties. If you around Mineral Wells and willing, please send us an email at email@example.com. Your help is really needed as we work to identify and communicate with other GB neighbors. Thanks.
Per Terri Woodworth from an earlier message around 1:45: I was told by our neighbor at hog bend (he received a call from another who lives there and is there now) stating that several of our places near the point (between south d and d and toward hell's gate) have just burned.
Per Johna Nicklas: The are relocating the Red Cross and drop-off location to the Mineral Wells Junior High. 1301 Southeast 14th Avenue.
Per Steve Anderson: “For those of you that have volunteered four wheelers, mules, chain saws and other equipment-it is too difficult to arrange pick up for those items. The manpower does not exist to pick up. If you can deliver those items on a trailer to Graford VFD, the will insure they get to the fire lines for the use of the firefighters.”
Per Johna Nicklas – Re-locating the Red Cross and we will confirm location as soon as we know. Just a voluntary evacuation at this time but could change to mandatory at any time. All donations are being loaded to a bus and being relocated with the Red Cross.
Chaney Lane is a mandatory evacuation at this time.
This is a part of the PK fire.
Per Steve Anderson – Gloves are being delivered to The Harbor Marina and will be picked up by the VFD. Many thanks for everyone’s help.
Still needing supplies for two or three days out. Preferably not perishables now and then back to food and perishables starting Wednesday.
Pictures being posted soon from Texas Aerial Survey. Tom and Jeff. The pictures were taken around 10am.
OFFICIAL NOTICE per Johna Nicklas: Chaney Lane being evacuated and the drop-off location is being moved to Graford ISD.
Have been offered a ride on the WFAA helicopter to go look at the damage. Will try and come back with good info. In the meantime, we have a good group to here in the Holiday Inn outpost to keep posting.
Tim Ford, GB resident, was able to gain access briefly to GB due to his official capacity. He reports that the following homes are still standing: Wheats, Fords, Markham and Bushes are still there. The yellow house at the end near Mesquite and Pecan did not make.
(DO NOT ASSUME YOUR HOUSE IS GONE IF YOU WERE LEFT OFF THIS LIST - we are getting intel in bits and pieces and we want to upload as quickly as possible).
Per Doug Robinson - The Gates home on Robin Lane in Gaines Bend is gone. Harlan Leeds who owns the helipad in Hell's Gate flew over this morning and confirmed. Their boat house is still okay.
Great footage on WFAA on the fires. You can see a good bit of the SW cliffline which has more houses standing than we've been lead to believe in the reports we've been getting (which is exactly why we have been holding off reporting on specific losses - just so much misinformation and we are trying very hard to get it right).
From Shawn Gibson re: Gaines Bend - We are pretty isolated. There's a fire in Neeley's Slough right now. We cannot go down into Gaines Bend proper. Seems quiet down here except for the choppers.
From Kyle Walker by boat (the Mule option was ruled out because of downed power lines, downed trees and firefighters in the area):
- In Hells Gate Slough (the water way between Oak Dr and East Hells Gate Loop) - there are only two houses (our of 19) that appear gone - these are at the back at the far end of the slough.
- In Wild Plum Cove (Redbud Point on the one side and Chapparral on the other side) - there is only one house affected in the back on the Chapparral side of the cove.
We have conducted interviews with the Associated Press and WFAA in Dallas as well as the Star Telegram in the last 30 minutes. In the meantime, we are putting together some pretty good intel on homes in GB. Stand by for a few more minutes and we'll post again.
Per Reese Curfew from his place on the west side: All ok on west side right now…north end of state park calmed down with one spot fire visible…assets flying overhead assisting with FM1287 fires between PK West and Graham. Both FM1148 and FM1287 closed at intersection of same.
We are in need of more bandwidth from our little outpost in Mineral Wells. We are in a room at the Holiday Inn Express and keep bogging down with all the bandwidth we're sucking up. This is a bit of a stretch, but are there any local resources that can help provide better wireless connectivity than we can get through the hotel system here? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Reported by Michelle Steuber - we have collected $49,463 in our Relief Fund. This is a great start ... keep it coming - our local resources are going to need all the help they can get once we're on the other side of this. THANK YOU!!
Per Peggy Gibson from Gaines Bend - The Coppell Fire Dept is in Gaines Bend. We have been told they are experts in structure fires. The Parker VFD is also in there. They are cutting fire breaks everywhere they can. Peggy did not see any big fires, but there are a lot of hot spots. The humidy is dropping and wind picking up - not good.
According to the Lake Country Sun, there are 750 people here working the PK Complex fire. The line is approximately 200 square miles. 148,000 acres consumed by fire.
If you have food donations and other items, such as eye wash - probably saline (not Visine), baby wipes, aspirin, benadryl, lip balm, sunscreen, etc. - please contact Lance Byrd. He is taking supplies at his ranch at 1125 Chancy Lane in Graford. He is then distributing to the Graford HS on an as-needed basis. His backup contact is Ryan Trott at 817/980-3818.
URGENT! Officials need gate code for Hells Kitchen in Sportsman's World.
Keep forgetting to post - Marsha says the west side is somewhat quiet for the momet.
Shawn and Peggy Gibson are driving Gaines Bend right now. We will have answers soon!
Amazingly, the sales office over on Rawhide Ridge and the little burger shack are both untouched.
Donna Lucado - your dogs have been rescued and they are fine! Linda Johson wants to know what they eat. :-)
Chief Thomasson says he desperately needs the following:
- Four wheelers to follow the dozers - ghe guys have worn themselves out walking behind them
- Mules with covers
- Chainsaws badly needed
We are getting overwhelmed by offers of help. It is difficult to keep up with so many emails but we are working on a system for handling responses. Please email email@example.com if you can help with the above.
Report from Kyle Walker - The house that's furthermost in back in the Hells Gate cove (at the end of Hells Gate Circle - the last house) is standing. The house with the helicopter pad inside of Hells Gate is standing. Gary Glascock's house is standing. There are several more houses still standing in the area, but we are running into problems communicating which ones they are. Working on a plan on how to solve this.
We are trying very hard to get specific information about what's what in Gaines Bend. There are wild rumors going around and we will not post any information that we cannot verify. We appreciate everyone's patience while we are in this mode of receiving and confirming information. One of the issues we are running in to is our sources aren't familiar with the Gaines Bend shoreline so they cannot tell us which homes by homeowner name or by streen name. Working on it hard ...
There is a lot of activity in the air in Gaines Bend right now. Water is being dropped to keep things wet there.
We have good news regarding several homes in Gaines Bend: If you are in a boat at Scuba Point looking at the Gaines Bend shoreline, the homes from Redbud Point all the way to the cove containing the Gaines Bend boat ramp off of Agarita are in good shape.
We have a report from inside Sportsman's World that Jay, Roy, Alicia and Terri are all okay. Assessing damage and continuing to fight to save SW properties. Many others involved as well.
To Donna Lucado - help is on the way to rescue your dogs from Gaines Bend.
Wow. We had a tremendous response on the gloves! Thanks for everyone's help - we have gloves on the way.
WE NEED LEATHER GLOVES FOR OUR FIREFIGHTERS! We are making a plea to get about 200 pair of leather gloves (to the wrist only) in assorted sizes. Need to get these to the guys in the field asap. If you can help, email us - firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have confirmation that the fires in Hells Gate area are contained per the Fire Dept (via a chain of sources).
Also, we can confirm in Gaines Bend that Allen's and Tabor's homes are still standing.
Hwy 16 S out of Graham closed below Walmart.
Reported by Tawnya and Rodney Hendricks from Rock Creek area - Stoney End and Casey were untouched by fires, as of 11pm. There were flames to the north of Rock Creek Camp on both sides of 16. Flames and burned land all over The Hills. Smoke dense and ash everywhere.
Aliie Witten reports that last night Jack Minter went into Sportsman's World and confirmed that her house is no longer there. There is only a foundation and two metal chairs left standing. Allie's home is on Hell's Gate Loop right where you turn left on Hells Gate Lp after passing Antler Road. Their house was on the left - a long cedar fence and metal gate.
We have confirmation that the homes in Gaines Bend close to Hell's Gate on the point have no damage (i.e., Huckabee, Taff, Patterson and Schott). The homes above that may be involved, but we are waiting for more information on that before we can confirm.
From Barry Johnson, who is still inside The Cliffs - From his home on Oyster Bay, he can see the Peninsula from Johnson's Peak to The Ranch. He can see no fires in that area. There are eight firetrucks from out of area departments positioned in The Cliffs. The raging fires are out in Gaines Bend, although there is still some fire present there. The Bends Condos in Gaines Bend are okay. There was a small fire last night in Phase 11 of The Cliffs, but that was put out by Double Diamond. There is not much wind and the humidity is higher.
Lesa Pawley, who has been providing food services from her location at the Coffee Hole was evacuated last night.
Miraculously, however, a group of PK residents (presumably from the metroples) arrived with an off-site mobile food service prep unit capable of preparing food for 700 at a time. They are established on a ranch near Graford and are busy cooking up breakfast taquitos this morning! What a gift!
Lisa Hester reports there is a fire between Gaines Bend and The Cliffs along Brackeen (the gravel drive) that firefighters are working hard to contain. They are doing their best to keep the fire from spreading to The Cliffs.
There was a SMALL fire (about 40 x 40) that sprung up in The Ranch last night that was immediately contained. There is no active fire in The Ranch.
There are NO fires on the Peninsula despite rumors to the contrary.
The Command Post was NOT evacuated as has been discussed elsewhere.
We have UNCONFIRMED reports that there are fires in a number of new areas in the vicinity of yesterday's fires. We are checking information now so we can report accurate information asap.
Also from TFS:
PK WEST, Stephens County. 50,739 acres, 25 percent contained. This fire is burning near Possum Kingdom Lake. 495 homes are threatened and 31 have been destroyed. The town of Strawn has been evacuated, 30 homes at Bunger were evacuated. The fire is now 6 miles from Graham. TFS task forces and two Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike teams are actively fighting this fire. This fire has burned into the Hohertz Fire and the PK East. National Guard Blackhawk helicopters from Austin are assisting.
HOHERTZ, Palo Pinto County. This fire has burned into the PK West Fire. All information will be reported under the PK West Fire.
NOTE: We believe this is now referred to as the PK Complex Fire.
According to The Texas Forest Service:
A Type I Incident Management Team has been ordered for the PK West Fire and a Type II Incident Management Team has been ordered to support East Texas. A tanker base has been set up in Midland to support a DC-10 air tanker. Dyess Air Force Base has set up a tanker base to support the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) units on four USAF C-130s. This is the first time Texas has mobilized these aerial resources.
The scanners and reports have quieted down. Probably a good time for a nap. It is hard to imagine what tomorrow will bring, and viewing tonight's destruction in daylight seems unimaginable.
We will resume posting if anything significant comes into play tonight, and will be back at it again by very early morning when activity will pick up again.
We are going to try and organize the pictures a bit better tomorrow and prepare ourselves for the hundreds of photos we are receiving. We hope to make the site a little faster tomorrow by tweaking a few things. Yesterday alone we had almost 20,000 conduct 225,000 page views. We never planned to have such a following, but we will be staying around to report factual information until after the last flame is extinguished.
Our firefighter fund raised a little over $25,000 today in donations from a lot of very generous folks. The outpouring of concern and support for our community's firefighters has been incredible to witness.
4/19/11 - 12:35 am
Heard from Trevor Aulds about 11:45 pm. His house is in The Ranch, facing the northeastern Gaines Bend shoreline. He watched a home burn there tonight. The only other smaller group of flames could be seen to the north on the Gaines Bend peninsula, but he couldn't tell if it was a house. Trevor says that as of now (11:45 pm) thier camera is completely dark when facing the Cliffs Marina and GB condos across from that. He reports the good news is there are no fires seen burning in the immediate area.
I overlooked an earlier report from Jim Tester at 9:35 pm:
Jim Trester reporitng in. We are viewing our cameras from the peninsula facing south toward Hells Gate (we are safely in our Plano Home). Our home is at mile marker 48 across from where the fires were at Hogs Bend yesterday. The fires are certainly off in the distance but much more intense than what we were viewing of Hogs Bend last night. The camera shows a very intense wide light in the direction of Hells gate. Can not tell where the fires are from our point of view, but does not look good for the Hells Gate area at all. Also see a couple of fires still in Hogs Bend area directly across from us.
We appreciate Jim's help with his cameras. He probably never realized he'd be using them in this fashion. Thanks Jim.
Our fire has officially been named the PK Complex.
Barry Johnson reports that the GB condos are still okay when he went by them by boat just now.
Sondra Lehman who has a home on Lower Burma reports that she can still log-in to her home automation system which is connected via wi-fi - this means she still has electricity and Internet access, which is a good sign there!
From Jason Stelzer who is monitoring the cameras at The Harbor. Camera 1 over the pool facing toward The Grill and Scenic Cove shows no fires. Camera 2 at the back gate reveals firetrucks on the scene, but no visible fires.
Check Channel 8 news - good info now.
According to Barry Johnson, who has communicated with others on the Peninsula, there are NO fires on the Peninsula at this time.
Donations from generous people! We have collected $17,152 to help our firefighters.
Regarding Hideaway Cabins - we have not had a specif reports that the Hideaway cabins are lost, but they were in the vicinity of significant fire involvement.
From Barry Johnson - Still out in boat and parked near the old Scuba Point. Wind has gotten up a bit, but the fires have subsided just a little. Its still intense, but less so. From his vantage point he can see to his left about as far as Possum Point; to his right he can see to where the GB cliff line begins. There have been NO waterfront homes lost in this area at this time.
According to Shawn Easter who is on the lake and around the Bluff Creek Marina in Sportsman's World - Bluff Creek Marina is still intact. The condos at Bluff Creek are still intact. Several houses on the Sportsman's World cliff line have been lost. It is unclear how many and which homes have been lost inside Hells Gate due to heavy smoke. Fire is bearing down on the homes around Hells Gate on the Gaines Bend side.
This report from Todd Gregory: We have a home on the Peninsula on Redbird Road facing Gaines Bend between Scuba Point and the Harbor. No camera view outside of the sides of the house and the dock. However I can see red hot embers flying in off of the water and a huge glow out on the water just past the dock.
Not good news for all areas of PK right now.
Spoke to Wells Watson from Gaines Bend. He is in his boat out in front of his house on Bluebonnet. He can see flames around the Swallow Cliffs area and homes are involved there. He hears propane tanks exploding. The Sheriff forced his evacuation - four of law enforcement people showed up with handcuffs so he agreed to leave by boat.
Marsha Bettis reports from the west side - there was NO explosion in Possum Hollow. West side fire under control again. Contrary to reports heard on the scanner, there are no evacuations ongoing there now.
From Barry Johnson who is out on the lake with Tim Hester. They are parked in the cove around the old Scuba Point, looking at Gaines Bend. From directly south of them, to about 45-degrees east (inland) is a wide path with a huge inferno. Flames are jumping 200' in the air. He thinks this is back a bit in the dense cedar that is inland. It has not come close to the shore yet. It may be even further back toward the gate.
He says the GB spec house up by the new development is gone, and the fire followed the ridge line there and then extinguished.
He has no info on the Hell's Gate area.
Ed Merten is inside the Cliffs - there is a small fire in Phase 11 that they were putting out. That is the only Cliff's sighting of fire.
There is no fire on the Peninsula that faces Gaines Bend, including the YMCA camp so far as Barry can tell.
Just got a pretty thorough report on Gaines Bend. Stand by for a few minutes for details.
Barry Johnson says the homes on Redbud Point are still in good shape in Gaines Bend.
From the scanner, it sounds like they are desperately trying to evacuate on the west side - Possum Hollow, Fox Hollow, etc.
From Robin Greer: Just spoke with my brother Richard Ator, who is manning a Fire Truck truck at the Airport North of PR36. They are watching to make sure fire does not cross 2353 into that area and he sent this picture from his current location. He has confirmed that there have been a lot of homes burned in the SW area. He said TXDoT is currently providing the fire trucks with fuel and food is coming in from all over the place. But all the VFD's could use financial support right now.
According to Richard Sweeney at 6:20 pm - A large fire has just reignited on the hill with the cross Just south of Park Rd 36. Between Rt 16 South and Mr.C's.
Officials are making a "last ditch effort" on Park Road 36 to get people out of the area.
EVERYONE WHO KEEPS ASKING ABOUT ROAD CLOSURES - PLEASE READ: The roads are closed. All around the area. Do not attempt to go into the area. There is so much going on that the last thing our firefighters and law enforcement need are people trying to get into the area.
Steve Anderson just talked to Gary Fulton (GB homeowner) - Gary says he thinks his house is in trouble and that the fire is back burning some and may move back to the bluebonnet area eventually. Ed Merten in The Cliffs says the condos in GB may be ok.
According to Kay Elliott - the BRA was just here (on the west side) and they said when they left Hells gate homes were burning. Texas flag house on fire in Hells Gate. That was told to me by BRA at my place 30 min ago.
RECAP OF EVENTS ABOUT WHERE WE WERE BEFORE WE WENT OFFLINE:
- The big explosion on the west side was probably the fireworks storage for Possum Hollow's annual show.
- Fire is headed toward Wildcatter from the west side.
- Hills Above PK (which I'll start calling HAPK) is ablaze.
- Fire is very involved now in Sportsman's World (SW) and Gaines Bend (GB)
- McAdam's Peak now on fire again
- More in a minute ...
We have UNCONFIRMED reports that the fire is on the Peninsula. Will try to get more info.
Fire is very involved in Gaines Bend right now. The model home / spec home in GBD near the sales office has burned. The GB condos have been spared for now. The fire is also down around Cedar and Oak near Hell's Gate.
4/18/11 at 12:30 pm
Many of you have asked where you can make contributions to help out the local firefighting folks - Pondera Properties has established a fund - the Pondera Properties / PK Firefighters Relief Fund to fill this need.
This fund is created to help support the firefighters who have bravely offered their energy and their lives to protect the lives and belongings of those in and around the Possum Kingdom Lake area. These men and women have worked diligently for days now for us and we feel it is now time to recognize their efforts by giving back.
The monies collected will be used to support the needs of the firefighters both currently and to replenish/repair or replace the equipment and supplies that have been used to fight the fires in and around the PK area.
We thank those in advance that contribute and we will insure your donations go to the great cause of fire protection and those energies that have been contributed up to this point and going forward.
The Pondera Properties/PK Firefighter Relief Fund can only accept PayPal donations at this moment. We will advise when we can on cash and check contributions. These funds will be in a separate account established at First National Bank in Graham and we will make a full accounting available once disbursements are made.
To make a contribution, click here - you will be taken to a page in our website that facilitates PayPay payments.
Thank you - The Pondera Properties Team
4/18/11 at 11:56 am
4/18/11 at 11:54 am
- Most of Caddo is okay. Will give full report when I return to land.
- South side of Peninsula - NO FIRE.
- Hog Bend west of mile marker 43 is all okay.
- Helicopters working point of Hog Bend and south of there, which is still burning.
- There are unfortunately very few houses left on the north shore of HogBend east of mile marker 41.
4/18/11 at 11:19 am
There is so much coming at us its hard to keep up with the information.
First, there is an effort being organized in Mineral Wells. Anyone local interested in helping with food prep - meet at the MW Masonic Lodge at 11:30. It is located at 601 North Oak, just past the Crazy Water. Mesquite Pit is donating enough BBQ and buns for 200. Joyce Nicklas will unlock lodge and pick up meat from the Pit. Once food is ready, it will be transported to Graford ISD .
Tonight, hamburgers will be prepared at Graford ISD. Any meat patties, buns, chips and condimets you can bring to the school will be much appreciated. Water is being brought in from DFW by the Nicklas Foundation - they are on the way but if anyone can lay their hands on bottled water, snap it up and take to Graford ISD please.
4/18/11 at 9:59 am
We understand the Coffee Hole may need help replenishing cooking supplies for the firefighters - if you can help, call Lesa at (940) 328-2411. She'll explain where you can deliver supplies.
4/18/11 at 9:59 am
Reported by Shawn Easter from Bluff Creek Marina - no smoke. Jay Guy (via Shawn) says Sportsman's World still looks okay.
We are getting reports that the firefighters on the Peninsula need meals! We understand Lesa Matthews is cooking up a storm at the Coffee Hole which is a HUGE help. The firefighters also need meals brought to them. Yesterday many only had a granola bar to last the whole day. A volunteer group is forming now in Mineral Wells to make sandwiches that will be carried in to them. If you are interested in helping and are in MW, leave a note in our blog with your email address. We will NOT post those notes to the public, but we will be able to email you back with info.
FYI, according to our sources Walmart in MW has been depleted of water and other supplies for the firefighters. Some are bringing in cases of water from town which is much appreciated.
A Pondera staff person will be at Observation Point soon and we will be able to get updates from her then. It will be a few hours from now.
4/18/11 at 9:26 am
Tim Allen, Gaines Bend resident, has gone by boat to the far back of Bluff Creek - he reports that he cannot see any flames behind Bluff Creek Marina.
4/18/11 at 9:15 am
Power is back on in Sportsman's World. No news on why it's cycling.
4/18/11 at 9:05 am
Power is reportedly out in Sportsman's World.
4/18/11 at 8:45 am
4/18/11 at 8:30 am
As reported from John Schuster who is monitoring cameras around Sportsman's World from a remote location in Mineral Wells - The cameras were check around 8:20 am this morning and there is no alarming activity to report.
Also - please note - there have been several reports of fires in Sportsman's World - this is NOT TRUE. There are no fires yet reported in SW. There are NO fires in GB or in The Cliffs. Officials very much want people to evacuate these communities, however.
4/18/11 at 8:25 am
As reported from Richard Sweeney. This morning it appears that the fire along FM 2353 is about out. I can't see any real sign of fire on the peak with the corss. Looking down lake to the Peninsula from my dock, there is no visible fire on the north side of the Peninsula. There is some light smoke drifting up there to the North end. I took a drive this morning and all the houses from Willow Beach to the end of Airport Road are untouched by the fire.
4/18/11 at 8:20 am
As reported from someone inside Gaines Bend - flames could be seen early this morning toward the Set Ranch from a vantage point near Hell's Gate. As of 8 am, however, the flames could not be seen and smoke coming from that direction appeared dimished.
We will have a report from someone going out in a boat later this morning to survey the damage to Hog Bend.
4/18/11 at 8:15 am
As reported from Anthony Lewis - radio reports in town say that firefighters are coming in from Frisco and Plano.
4/18/11 at 7:51 am
Marsha Bettis reports that all is quiet on the West Side, with very little smoke from the State Park. Marsha's home sits right across from the State Park.
We have confirmed reports of three homes lost in the Hills Above PK.
4/18/11 at 7:48 am
We hear that ALL roads into the PK Lake area are CLOSED. No one can come back into the area at this time.
4/18/11 at 7:30 am
Winds have changes. Officials have returned to Gaines Bend and Sportsman's World to evacuate the people who didn't leave yesterday.
337 is closed from Graford to Graham due to fires in that location.
4/18/11 at 2:30 am
Official Report from Texas Forest Service on the status of the Stephens County, PK West Fire, Palo Pinto County, Hohertz Fire and PK East Fires - These 3 fires are burning in close proximity to each other and will be combined into a Fire Complex. 55,000 acres, 10 percent contained.
32 homes and one church have been destroyed since the fire started along with an estimated 90 head of cattle.
The community of Strawn along with an area west of Hwy 16, south of Possum Kingdom Lake to I-20 and Possum Kingdom peninsula have been evacuated.
An Incident Command Post has been established south of Strawn on Hwy 16.
TFS resources committed to these 3 fires today include 2 Air Attacks, 3 heavy Helitankers, 2 TXARNG Blackhawk Helicopters, three 20-person hand crews, 3 Task Forces of dozers and engines, 5 TIFMAS Stike Teams of engines, and 2 TIFMAS Task Forces of engines and water tenders.
Official Report from Texas Forest Service on the status of Stephens County, Jackson Ranch Fire - 2,270 acres, 50 percent contained. The town of Caddo was evacuated today. TFS resources responding today include a Task Force of dozers and engines, a TIFMAS Strike Team of engines, and 2 heavy Helitankers.
4/17/11 at 11:05 pm
Shawn Gibson, from Gaines Bend Developement, reports that he went out to check on the fire behind Bluff Creek. He can no longer see flames on that hill. He can see a glow behind it though. His assessment is that it would appear that the fire has moved to the NW away from the Bluff Creek area.
He also reports that he is seeing very large flames WSW from his position, which would be beyond the Camp Constantine peninsula. He believes this is the Hog Bend area in general. He can see flames shooting at least 100 feet into the air, which he estimates is 3 miles away.
4/17/11 at 10:20 pm
John Schuster reports that he spoke to Jay Guy in Sportsmans' World a few minutes ago. There are NO fires in Sportsman's World at this time.
4/17/11 at 10:16 pm
Heard from friends in Wichita Falls that the TV station there is reporting fire in The Cliffs Resort. Called Ric & Linda Hayward who are in The Cliffs and they say this is simply NOT TRUE. Ric and Linda have ventured out a few times this evening to check all through The Cliffs - everything appears okay there at this time.
4/17/11 at 9:55 pm
One of our agents, Jo Lynn Miller, lives up on PK's north end. She reported at 9:27 pm that fires have not crossed FM 2353 to the lake side anywhere so far as she can tell. Rock Creek and River Road are still okay. Fire at Hills Above PK looks to be bigger and may be on the lake side of 16 (we have also heard this from other people). ###
4/17/11 at 9:52 pm
Jim Trester of Plano, sent this in at 9:00 pm - Just got back to our home in Plano and checked our lake cameras. We are on the Peninsula facing south off Hamilton drive (mile marker 48). One camera faces south across the lake. Can see a large fire across the lake towards the Hogs Bend area. Too dark to tell what is on fire but appears to be a large fire and moving east along the lake. Can also see small embers flashing in front of our camera.
4/17/11 at 9:48 pm
The following was reported by our friend, Husley Smith, at approximately 8:44 pm:
I can report that the Air Tankers have been making multiple runs to help contain the fire directly east of 2353 (PK Airport) which is has been and still is burning north very aggressively between 16, 36 and 2353. McAdams Peak and the Cross burned this afternoon especially on the north and east sides. Air Tankers are to thank for saving Graham Savings and Loan as well as Mr. C's. They made runs all afternoon to stop the back burning and save the homes on the west side of 2353 toward the PK airport. If the fire would have made it down the west side of McAdams...it would have all burned. The wind is dying down now but flames can still be seen from our perch high on the bluffs. This is no where near over from our view and if the wind shifts from the southeast or east it will be disastrous.
It is a Lookout fire at the moment...which means it seems that only the air tankers are making progress...everyone else just LOOKOUT...and stay out of the way...as there is not much you can do with 15-25+ winds.
Thanks Hulsey, for such a thorough report! Be safe.
4/17/11 at 9:44 pm
According to Jon Schuster (who is monitoring Sportsman's World cameras remotely from a safe place in Mineral Wells) - "I can see flames across Bluff Creek. It looks like across from Bluff Creek Marina. It looks like the flames are on the ranch land acros the creek from the Marina."
4/17/11 at 9:06 pm
Marsha Bettis, West Side Update: The big danger today was from the fires at the State Park and the risk of them jumping the lake and hitting west side again. All of west side was notified (door to door) of the risk and told of escape route to Ivan as there was a fire between the lake and Graham that made 1287 impassable. The south winds brought lots of ash from the big fire at the State Park but no fire and no areas were evacuated. The fire is calming down at the State Park and winds are calming now too.there are still fires north of the lake around Graham so the only safe way out of the west side now remains to be the road to Ivan (or by water which is the way most of us that stayed plan to go if we have to)
4/17/11 at 8:34 pm
Sue Walls reports on Caddo: Paul Pulliam of the Paradise Ranch situated above Caddo says that there have been several houses along Brandy Road that have burned, and several more are on fire. The firefighters were running up and down Brandy Road and doing the best they could.
4/17/11 at 8:21 pm
Cheyenne Wuthrich reports areas evacuated south of her (in Graham) include: Wildcatter, Bunger, Salem Loop and Dark Canyon RV Park. The Pitcock Edition was on alert, but has been taken off for now (according to radio reports she is listening to).
4/17/11 at 8:14 pm
4/17/11 at 8:08 pm
4/17/11 at 7:30 pm
Scott Parrish reports his house in Hog Bend has burned to the ground. He also reports that the State Park HQ also burned.
Sandy Thoma reports that she thinks the fire has slipped southwest of her home there in Sportsman's World, which is the third ranch on the left inside of the Sportsman's World gate.
4/17/11 at 7:30 pm
Per John Schuster - Sportsman's World resident - John is monitoring the security cameras at SW from his perch in Mineral Wells. He has three sites with multiple cameras: Front gates, trash facility and pavilion. He is also in discussion with several other people. From what he understands and can see on the cameras, there are NO fires in Sportsmans's World at this time. There is alot of smoke around SW, however.
A woman from the Forest Service just drove through and checked structures - there is NO loss in Sportsman's World at this time. Roy Davis and Jay Guy are still in SW cutting tree limbs, creating fire breaks with bulldozers, etc.
4/17/11 at 7:20 pm
Had to relocate out of Gaines Bend on Judge's court order! Sorry for the delay in postings. On the drive out, we headed north on Hwy 16, connecting with 254 - headed toward Mineral Wells. The cottages were fine, the speedway was fine, fire has burnt both sides of the road until you get somewhat past the Catholic Church. Traffic is stopped near the old Quicksilver building on 254. No one can get past that point. We saw fires flaring on the left side of the road (northwest) right past the Catholic Church. That church was spared with fire going right up to the lawn and about 15 ft from the building.
Tim Allen, GB resident, reports that the fires are closing in on Hogs Bend and one home is on fire in the first cove west of Bluff Creek, and three others look like they are about to start on fire. He says that fire is very long and it looks like most of Hogs Bend could be burnt soon.
Tim believes that GB will be fine for today and there's not much flare-up around Sportsman's World so he thinks they might be okay for today as well. The winds are down a little and the big fires don't appear to be as bad.
4/17/11 at 4:15 pm
4/17/11 at 4:14 pm
4/17/11 at 3:46 pm
4/17/11 at 3:25 pm
4/17/11 at 3:15 pm
4/17/11 at 3:16 pm
IMPORTANT!!! County Judge David Nicklas has just signed a Proclamation ordering a MANDATORY EVACUATION of basically everything around PK except the west side. That means all residents in The Cliffs, Gaines Bend and Sportsman's World are now under court order to vacate, as is the Peninsula area.
And ... according to Shawn Gibson, Gary (from Gaines Bend) spoke to a DPS officer at Whataburger who said Gaines Bend was not in direct threat at the moment, but the fires toward Strawn may be a threat for us tomorrow.
4/17/11 at 3:00 pm
County Judge David Nicklas has ordered the evacuation of the town of Strawn and everything south of PK Lake and west of Highway 16.
Enforcement officers are going door to door in Golden Cove, Frontier Unit, Lower Burma and Trail Ridge for evacuation purposes.
4/17/11 at 2:53 pm
According the the LCS, flames were visible in the field across from the North 40 (convenience store on FM 2353).
4/17/11 at 2:45 pm
UNCONFIRMED, but it sounds like the Peninsula may be getting evacuated from the chatter on the scanner.
4/17/11 at 2:35 pm
According to the Lake Country Sun, an official information officer has reported that they are currently evacuating everything south of PK and west of 16 (Strawn). PK West fire = 22,000 acres, 25% contained; PK East fire - 0% contained; Hohhertz fire = 6,000 acres, 40% contained; Jackson Ranch (west of Strawn) = 6000 acres, 0% contained.
4/17/11 at 2:30 pm
According to Mike Powell (via Sandy Thoma), fire is now at the back of the Thoma-Borden fenceline in Sportsman's World. Firefighters now in Sportsman's World.
A lot of ash flying around Gaines Bend.
4/17/11 at 2:07 pm
If anyone wants to listen to the DPS scanner for Palo Pinto County online, they can access it here
4/17/11 at 2:00 pm
According to the DPS scanner, Strawn is being evacuated now.
4/17/11 at 1:30 pm
Regarding the fire at 180 & 16 - winds have shifted to the southwest which improves the situation as far as Sportsman's World, Gaines Bend and The Cliffs is concerned. This means the fire will push more toward Hwy 16 and not so much in the direct line of the subdivisions.
The bigger concern for firefighters at the moment is at McAdam's Peak and that general area. All businesses and residences north of Mr. C's has been evacuated and extending up into the upper north end - Rock Creek, etc.
4/17/11 at 1:06 pm
It is slow going for evacuees. Route is through Graham.
Backfires are being lit along 2353 about 300 yards from the Chamber.
North End is being evacuated including Rock Creek, Butler Road area, etc.
4/17/11 at 12:40 pm
Evacuated traffic is now stopped at the Speedway due to fires up ahead.
4/17/11 at 12:30 pm
Hwy 16 is shut down at the Catholic Church. DPS says they will be shutting down 254 from Graford to the Lake. That has been confirmed by a DPS officer.
Gaines Bend is being evacuated, although many are staying.
The fire at McAdams Peak is strong. The businesses at the 4-way stop have been evacuated, including Mr. C's and Pondera East Sales Office. According to Steve Anderson, it looks like the fire is slowing making its way down the ridge to the area behind Graham S&L.
Per Carolyn Land in Rock Creek Camp, it has jumped 16 headed north toward the Hills Above.
4/17/11 at 10:55 am
Mert Fewell reports that 16 from SW south is blocked off on 16. Several tankers, bulldozers and fire response units from Lone Camp, Valley Mills, Meridian ... total of 5 companies, are heading into Sportsman's World. They reported that the fire is west of the storage units at Brad and is heading northwesterly.
Sheriff cars are posted at Sportsman's World and Gaines Bend. They are going to start evacuations again in both communities.
4/17/11 at 10:30 am
According to Barbara Gibson, it appears the fire response crews are staging now out of Sportsman's World. Whatever they were doing at Brad is about an hour late, although they are trying hard. The change in the strength of the wind is phenomenal.
4/17/11 at 9:55 am
Shawn Gibson reports that the fire behind the storage buildings at 180 and 16 are very big again and firefighters are on the scene working it. 16 is still open at 180, but not sure for how long.
4/17/11 at 9:55 am
The following is reported by Shawn Gibson from Gaines Bend Development – "I just got back from a run up to Brad. Fore those of you that got blocked out of GB, the road blocks at Brad are gone for now. I turned east toward Breckenridge and drove back to the historic Cedar Springs Church. It has completely burned, absolutely nothing left. The fire was so hot as it crossed 180 there that it curled up one of the aluminum road signs. There is an active fire burning behind the storage units at Brad. No firefighters are there at all. They must not consider it a threat. I saw no signs that the Set Ranch fire has advanced. Lots of smoke though and the wind has kicked up. I don't think the fire at Brad is a threat to Gaines Bend, but that Set Ranch fire is another matter."
4/17/11 at 9:50 am
Mark Anderson is at 180 & 16 now. He said there are several small fires north of 180 and winds are mostly blowing to the North.
4/17/11 at 9:34 am
This is update from Sheriff's office: Right now all roads are open. The fire is fixing to jump the road (they think) at the Baptist Church where it burned down, so its coming back toward the Peninsula.
Winds have just picked up. According to Johna Nicklas on the Peninsula, smoke and associated smells are in the air again over there so something is brewing.
Reports from Strawn indicate the fire is only 10% contained. West side fire has merged with the Strawn fire and firefighters are very frustrated.
4/17/11 at 9:30 am
If you have stayed behind in SW, GB and The Cliffs - high winds could put our neighborhoods in the path of the fire today. Here are some tips shared by our west side neighbors who survived a horrendous fire situation Thursday night:
- Lower your boat from its lift! If you lose electricity, you will not be able to lower it, so do it now and tie it up.
- Gather up your water hoses and string them together now, before you need them. You'll want a long reach if the fire comes near your home. Hook them up to city water - if you lose electricity, your lake pump will not work.
- Turn on all your sprinklers outside and let them run.
- Get a ladder and a water hose and wet your roof.
- Pack a bag with your most precious things and a change of clothes - have them ready to grab if you need to jump in your boat.
- Make sure life jackets are where you can grab them and keep them in or near the boat.
- Find your flashlights and batteries and get them organized now. Gather your candles. Put it all in one place so you know where to find them.
- If you can get a bag of ice in your freezer, put one in there. Have some bottled water handy.
4/17/11 at 9:18 am
According to the Lake Country Sun, they have an update from PK East Fire Chief Ronnie Ranft that all roads are now open (however that can change).
4/17/11 at 8:30 am
Per Ric Hayward from his perch in The Cliffs - The glows from the fires have not moved noticeably from late last night. The sprinklers on the golf course have been on all night so they have dampened the fire breaks throughout the resort.
Shawn Gibson (from Gaines Bend) went out at 5 am this morning and drove around checking out the fire situation. He said there was a definite "glow" that can be seen from the Set Ranch area. No visible flames, but Shawn could see bright lights like they may have a command post set up there. He drove to Brad and there were no visible flames from Hwy 16. The storage units (Freedom Storage) are still there and looked okay. The real danger to Gaines Bend is from the Set Ranch which is 3-4 miles from Gaines Bend. At present winds are out of the South at 8 mph. Forecast is for 28% humidity today and winds out of the South at 21 mph - not good, but not as bad as Friday.
West Side report from Marsha Bettis – All is quiet there. Not nearly as smoky this morning, the radio is quiet and everhing seems to be under control over there.
4/16/11 at 11:30 pm