Fire at Big Bend National Park contained with the help of 'Los D - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Fire at Big Bend National Park contained with the help of 'Los Diablos'

Wildland fire burning near Panther Junction (Source: Big Bend National Park/Facebook) Wildland fire burning near Panther Junction (Source: Big Bend National Park/Facebook)
TERLINGUA, TX (KWES) -

A combination of 35 qualified National Park Rangers and fire crews Los Diablos, from Las Boquillas, have been fighting the fire at Big Bend National Park.

Some of them working 10 to 12 hours at a time. 

The fire started with a downed power line.

That’s when the park caught fire Monday Feb. 1 around 5 p.m. 1.5 miles away from Panther Junction.

“It covered at least 500 acres on Monday evening,” said National Park Public Information Officer, David Elkowitz. “It did close the road to Rio Grande Village. It also impacted the power lines and it closed or shut off the power to Rio Grande Village, Jesus Village and Panther Junction.”

The campers in the area were relocated to other campsites nearby.

By Tuesday afternoon, the fire spread to over 1,000 acres as winds continued to blow.

When it comes to tourism, park officials don’t believe this fire affected it too much.

“If the fire were to go into more popular areas or would have closed major attractions it could possibly but I don’t see that as likely,” said Elkowitz.

Some fires are beneficial to the ecosystems as they help spread nutrients and kill off grass and brush and even allow seeds to germinate but this was not the case.

“We’re fighting the fire because it’s affecting the power line, which is needed for water for the main development here. It was getting in the public areas meaning the roads as well as near historic buildings. So there are times we fight fires aggressively when they impact the public,” said Elkowitz.

Park rangers are still concerned the open flames can grow throughout Wednesday, but say with the help of Los Diablos and the current park crew they will be able to contain the fire before it grows.

Electricity officials did say if all goes well, they will restore power to Rio Grande Village on Wednesday. 

Copyright 2016 KWES. All rights reserved.

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