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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Roscoe Area Plagued by High Winds and Wildfires

Looking across I-20 at the wind turbines southwest of Roscoe on Sunday.

While the city of Roscoe itself was free of any major incidents this past week, a big fire on Sunday north of I-20 near Colorado City, twenty miles west, destroyed around 10,000 acres in Mitchell County and burned down thirteen houses, ten of them inhabited.  In Roscoe and the surrounding area, the smell of smoke from the fire was in the air on Sunday night, and almost everyone I talked to around town on Monday had a story of some sort to tell about it.  Photos of the fire and resulting devastation are available at the Abilene Reporter-News photo galleries.
The fire was probably caused and quickly spread by the high winds of the first serious sandstorm of the year.   On Sunday a strong wind blew in from the southwest off the Mexican desert, and temperatures steadily rose throughout the afternoon along with the increasing velocity of the wind gusts.  By 3:30 a full-fledged sandstorm with strong, gusty winds was in progress, and the temperature steadily rose, getting up to 87° or 88°F at its peak. 

Since then, the breezes have been slight and the skies bright blue.  But the lack of any appreciable rainfall since before Christmas along with the likelihood of more high winds have authorities concerned about the possibility of more fires in the area, and on Monday, the Nolan County Commissioners’ Court indefinitely extended the burn ban for Nolan County.  

The Plowboy grain elevator from the Maryneal highway at Bandera.

Jerland Freeman in the 1950's
Roscoe lost one of its most prominent citizens last Friday evening with the passing of Jerland Fred Freeman, Jr., 82.  Funeral services were held on Monday at the Roscoe Church of Christ followed by burial in the Roscoe Cemetery.  Mr. Freeman was the owner and operator of Freeman Trucking and Freeman Farms and a leading member of the community for many decades.  Survivors include his wife, Elnor, daughters Pat and Jeannetta, sons Don and Steve, brother J. T., sisters Joyce, Maretha, Melba, and Billye, as well as 20 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.  He was preceded in death by his son Freddy and daughter Terri. 

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