At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, Texas A&M Forest Service received a request for assistance on a fire burning approximately 5 miles south of Abilene, in Taylor County, Texas. The Hill Top Fire is burning in juniper and mesquite shrub as well as grass vegetation. The fire exhibited extreme fire behavior during the initial response with crown fire and running through the juniper vegetation.
County and local firefighters have been joined by personnel, heavy equipment, fire engines and aviation resources from Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System. Aircraft, including large airtankers, single engine airtankers and fire bosses, made beneficial drops well into the evening hours that helped to slow forward progression of the fire. Crews focused on cooling the flanks of the fire and slowing progression at the head utilizing aircraft heavily to assist.
Voluntary evacuations are in place for residents between Old Coleman Highway and 83/84. A shelter has been set up at the Taylor County Expo Center for impacted residents. Taylor County Sheriff's Office will provide additional information for evacuations.
By the 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, fire managers reported that fire activity had moderated due to decreasing temperatures and increased relative humidity levels.
There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in place for the area over the fire, [NOTAM: FDC 3/7711, https://bit.ly/3YGuZnE]. Please avoid the area to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft.
Mesquite and Juniper shrub, with grass component.
The fire remains active with crews engaged on both flanks.
12 hours: Fire will continue to spread with strong westerly winds but higher relative humidities will moderate the potential. Little to no measurable precipitation is expected.
24 hours: 11th day of drying and fuels are at levels drier than initial fire start. ERC reaching 90th percentile. BI is at 99th.
48 hours: Chance of moisture is 30
72 hours: Moisture chances increase Sunday and into early next week.
72 hours: Low pressure develops and cooler temperatures and high relative humidity will dampen fire behavior.
12 hours: Scattered pockets of smoldering and creeping with no perimeter growth. Smoke accumulating in canyons overnight.
24 hours: Scattered pockets of heat with smoldering, creeping, and flare-ups with active surface spread and isolated torching. Little to no perimeter growth anticipated,
48 hours: Scattered pockets of heat with smoldering, creeping, and flare-ups with active surface spread and isolated torching. Little to no perimeter growth anticipated.
72 hours: Scattered pockets of heat with smoldering, creeping, and flare-ups with active surface spread and isolated torching. Little to no perimeter growth anticipated.
72 hours: No
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