The Mesquite Heat Fire has destroyed approximately 27 homes 7 miles southwest of Abilene, Texas. Since it started May 17 alongside Highway 277 it has burned 7 miles to the northeast, consuming 9,613 acres during extreme weather conditions — temperature of 107 degrees, 10 percent relative humidity, and winds gusting to 30 mph.
Firefighters aided by aircraft kept it from spreading significantly Friday as unburned pockets of fuel flared up in the interior. Crews continued to construct containment line along the perimeter of the fire with a heavy focus on the southern flank in preparation for the predicted winds out of the north Saturday morning.
The Southern Geographic Area Incident Management Team #2 (Gold Team) is assigned. Resources on the fire Friday evening included 15 fire engines and 1 helicopter for a total of 59 personnel.
Friday evening evacuations were still in place with limited access for Country Place South to FM 89, South of FM 1235, Hillside Rd, Denton Valley Rd, Braune Rd and CR 297.
US Highway 277 reopened Friday night. The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook, “Several guardrails are only laying on the ground and reflective striping may not be visible or still present due to fire damage.”