TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Mesquite Heat Fire, which began Tuesday evening near Coronado’s Camp, continues to rage on through the weekend. KTAB/KRBC is continuing its efforts to keep all updated on the latest news surrounding the fire.
- List of evacuations, road closures and shelter options
- Updated map of current spread of fire
- How to help
- Report your fire damage
- Additional resources
Saturday, May 21
Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls rescinded his mandatory orders of evacuation.
These areas are now accessible to residents with identification confirming their address:
- Braune Road from CR 297 to Hidden Valley Drive
- Braune Road from Hidden Valley Drive to Hillside Road
As of 10:00 p.m. Saturday, the fire remained at 9,613 acres in size with 25% containment. KTAB/KRBC will continue to monitor the Mesquite Heat fire.
Both the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas A&M Forest Service reported no change Saturday morning, but TCSO said strong winds could increase risk of the fire expanding.
Saturday morning stats:
- 9,613 acres in size
- 25% contained
AEP will continue to work to restore power to areas where it is once again safe.
While Highway 277 South has been reopened, traffic is moving slowly.
Until 2:00 p.m. Saturday, food trucks are set up in the parking lot of Drug Emporium so that first responders for the Mesquite Fire can get a good meal.
Friday, May 20
The Texas A&M Forest Service confirmed no change and little activity for much of Friday. In a tweet, the forest service said crews have worked on building a perimeter for the fire much of the day and the Southern Area Gold Type 2 Incident Management Team was brought in to take command.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office is reopening US 277.
Deputies will continue to patrol the area. Use caution. If you don’t absolutely need to be on the road, stay away.
The Texas Wildfire Incident Response System recently reported that the Mesquite Heat fire remains the same: 9,613 acres, 25% contained.
Big Country Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster will be opening the Recovery Resource Center at Beltway Park South on Beltway South Road in Abilene next week.
Abilene City Councilmember Weldon Hurt said ‘several structures’ have been lost to the wildfire, and encouraged area residents to be prepared to evacuate and have an evacuation plan in place.
Meteorologists expect a shift in the wind Saturday, causing harsher conditions for the wildfire.
From the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office: “The Abilene Mobile Vet Center is open to assist veterans, active duty, and their family members with fire recovery resources.” Contact 877-WAR-VETS for information or assistance.
From the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office: “Buffalo Gap Baptist Church is available for those who have been evacuated / affected by the fire or working on the fire for showers and to do laundry.”
No change on fire status. The Mesquite Heat fire remains at 9,613 acres with 25% containment. Confirmed by TCSO.
Additional evacuation orders have been rescinded in connection to the Mesquite Heat Fire in south Taylor County.
Thursday, May 19
According to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Bishop will soon be opening the following areas, which were previously evacuated:
- Highway 277, from FM 1235 to FM 89 – open to local traffic only, must show ID proving you live in the area
- Areas east and west of Highway 277, from FM 1235 to Buffalo Mountain Ranch
Utility companies are still working in the area, TCSO said to use caution and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
The following areas REMAIN closed or evacuated:
- Braune Road, from CR 297 to Hidden Valley Drive
- Hidden Valley Drive
- Braune Road, from Hidden Valley Drive to Hillside Road
In response to the Mesquite Heat fire, volunteers from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Center Disaster Relief said they will be setting up a feeding unit in Buffalo Gap Friday to provide meals for victims and first responders.
According to the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System, the Mesquite Heat fire remains at 9,613 acres in size, but has jumped to 25% containment.
From the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office: “Several fires have been flaring up but firefighters have been successful in getting the flare ups under control and out quickly.”
Multiple wildfires are popping up across the State of Texas. The Mesquite Heat fire is threatening Taylor County at 9,600+ acres in size with little containment. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a response to the Texas fires Thursday.
From the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office: “We are not evacuating Buffalo Gap.”
From the City of Abilene: MANDATORY evacuation orders in place for the following locations:
Town of Buffalo Gap
Country Place South to FM 89
Buffalo Gap West on Highway 277
South of FM 1235
Denton Valley Road
Anybody in vicinity of the fire
Mayor Anthony Williams corrected his earlier statement Thursday regarding homes lost due to the ongoing Taylor County wildfire.
According to his correction, posted to Facebook, up to 27 homes have been destroyed. It was previously reported that 50-60 homes were lost.
Mayor Williams also reported nine Taylor County residents to be sheltered at Beltway South.
The Abilene Zoo said it will be rescheduling its Zoolute event for a later date, as the Mesquite Heat fire burns 9,000+ acres in Taylor County.
In an update from the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System just before 1:00 Thursday afternoon, the fire grew to 9,000+ acres in size. Out of the 9,613 acres burning, only 5% of the blaze is contained.
From the Big Country VOAD: The Mesquite Heat fire has grown to 9,613 acres with 3% containment. The update said crews are concerned with fires jumping FM 1235 and making its way northeast.
More than 100 TAC-2 team members from across the state are on-site to help fight the wildfire.
There are no immediate needs, a fully stocked tent is on-site for those working the fire.
Big Country Airfest 2022, which was initially scheduled to take place in Abilene this weekend, has been canceled due to ‘wildfire contingency operations’ on Dyess Air Force Base.
From the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office: “The City of Abilene is not in any danger from the Mesquite Heat Fire at this time and there are no evacuation orders for any part of Abilene.”
From Jim Ned Volunteer Fire Department: Crews battling the Mesquite Heat fire are in need of equipment. “If anyone has equipment that can cut a line, they are needed,” the Facebook post reads.
The United Way of Abilene says that physical donations aren’t needed at this time, and citizens are asked to avoid the area, but anyone who wishes to help can make a monetary donation to the Community Foundation of Abilene’s Fire Relief Funds.
US 277 South is closed from View to FM 89
The Texas A&M Forest Service wants to remind the public of the best evacuation practices, as the expect the Mesquite Heat Fire to grow or additional fires to pop up Thursday afternoon, prompting more evacuation orders.
U-Haul is offering free storage to Taylor County residents who have been displaced or impacted by the ongoing Mesquite Heat Fire. 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box® container usage to any affected residents.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning over much of the Abilene area. Weather Service officials say the warning will be in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thursday for the following Big Country counties: Fisher, Nolan, Coke, Runnels, Haskell, Throckmorton, Jones, Shackelford, Taylor, Callahan, and Coleman.
Temperature and wind speed could play a very important role as firefighters battle the Mesquite Heat Fire, which burns in Taylor County for a third day after already destroying at least 5 thousand acres.
Wednesday, May 18
According to urgent correction from Abilene Police, emergency crews urge residents to continue to STAY AWAY from the area.
“We apologize for the confusion,” said the Public Information Office of the Abilene Police Department.
Evacuations have NOT been lifted for Buffalo Gap.
Abilene Fire and Emergency Operations Center say Buffalo Gap residents can return to their homes. Do so with caution, especially if you live west of Buffalo Gap.
Jim Ned CISD is cancelling school Thursday, May 19, in response to numerous displaced families. The announcement came through a Facebook post.
The Abilene Police Department set up shop alongside the Abilene Fire Department, Emergency Management and more to help battle the Mesquite Heat Fire.
‘Disaster’ was declared Wednesday night as the Mesquite Heat Fire burned at least 5,000 acres of Taylor County land.
Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams went live on his Facebook page Wednesday night after meeting with the City. Mayor Williams said up to 1,000 residents across Taylor County were evacuated, with 10 homes lost.
With cooler temperatures expected Wednesday night, Mayor Williams said he is hopeful it will help keep flames of Mesquite Heat Fire from spreading.
Mayor Williams also said Beltway South is available as a shelter to those who need it.
The Mesquite Heat Fire has grown to 5,000 acres, according to the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System. It is 5% contained.
Dyess Air Force Base conducted an ‘accountability recall,’ asking all Air Force personnel to check in with their supervisors.
Camp Able, a Buffalo Gap nonprofit that provides equine therapy to people with disabilities and sanctuary to unwanted or neglected horses, was ordered to evacuate Wednesday evening.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office advised residents in and near Buffalo Gap to prepare to evacuate. Officers are also evacuating east of Highway 277, from FM 1235 to Buffalo Gap.
View Baptist Church said it is grateful for all donations, but is no longer in need of food or water. The church advises giving directly to local volunteer fire departments. They are in need of supplies like goggles, eye drops, water and monetary donations for fuel.
The American Red Cross told KTAB/KRBC it is moving its operations to Beltway South.
Fire containment dropped to 0%. In a tweet from Texas A&M Forest Service, it was announced that the fire jumped containment lines on both flanks.
Tuesday, May 17
The Mesquite Heat fire has grew to 1,500 acres 5% containment, according to Texas Wildfire Incident Response System.
TCSO said it will be evacuating residents in the area of County Road 317/ White Mines Road.
Drivers are instructed to avoid the areas altogether.
Homes on Hidden Valley Drive area have been instructed to evacuate. The sheriff’s office said it is moving people to View Baptist Church.
TCSO said it was evacuating residents on Braune Road.
A wildfire sparked about a mile-and-a-half from Coronado’s Camp in Tuscola. In a tweet, the Texas A&M Forest Service called it the Mesquite Heat fire. It burns at 300 acres with 0% containment.