||03/18/2008 15:00:00 CST-6
||03/19/2008 08:00:00 CST-6
||0/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
||A strong cold front passing through the central portion of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Deep South Texas during the mid and late afternoon of March 18th brought a combination of wind gusts in excess of 50 mph, falling humidity into the teens, and rapid drying to already drought-affected short-term fuels. These conditions, combined with falling live power lines and other sparking material, produced a number of significant wild fires across Jim Hogg, Brooks, Hidalgo, and Starr Counties between the afternoon of the 18th and the afternoon of the 19th.
In total, aerial and ground surveys suggested that at least 40,000 acres may have burned in total, with at least 25,000 of those related to the Burns Ranch blaze which stretched from the border of Starr, Brooks, and Jim Hogg County east-southeast into southern Brooks and Hidalgo County, with the smoke plume extending into Willacy County. Infrared satellite imagery initially pinpointed the hot spots soon after ignition; Doppler Radar was able to capture the plume from the Burns Ranch Fire into the evening of the 18th.
||The Burns Ranch Fire, which began along the four county line of Jim Hogg, Starr, Brooks, and Hidalgo County, rapidly spread through an estimated 25,600 acres of extreme southern and southwestern Brooks County within hours of onset, becoming what would be the most significant wild fire for Deep South Texas of the 2008 season. Severe damage to a summer mansion on the ranch was noted in follow-up reports. The fire forced closure of Federal Highway 281 between Farm-to-Market (FM) Road 490 and FM 755 through most of the night of the 18th.