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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

White Hat Fire Devastates Maryneal Area

The White Hat Fire in southern Nolan County (Fire photos courtesy of Jeff Althof)
The latest fire to plague the area, known as the White Hat Fire from its origin on White Hat Ranch south of Maryneal, has destroyed at least twelve homes and burned more than 32,000 acres in southern Nolan County.  A power substation and numerous power lines have also received heavy damage, and some wind turbines have lost transmission power. 

The fire was first reported on Sunday evening at about 7:30pm and has moved north and east since.  At one point both Maryneal and Blackwell were on standby to evacuate, but neither community had to do so, although several homes east of Maryneal did.  The fire has since crossed both highway 70, the San Angelo highway, and highway 153, the Winters highway. 

According to the Texas Forest Service, it is still not contained although fire crews are said to be making progress, and the wind is now blowing in a more favorable direction.  Three task forces of bulldozers and fire engines have joined local fire departments in fighting the blaze, while Texas Forest Service air tankers drop chemical fire retardant.

Nolan County Commissioners have declared the county a disaster area and Governor Perry has approved the declaration.  Other wildfires are also burning in the Big Country in areas around Haskell, Aspermont, and Throckmorton.     



The City of Roscoe has planted three new live oak trees downtown on Cypress Street, one in front of the Roscoe Historical Museum, one next to the Roscoe State Bank, and one across the street next to the downtown park and Brooklynn’s Heavenly Treasures.  

Along with the three other trees that the City planted last year, the downtown area is looking nicer—and greener than before.  Live oaks were chosen for their slow growth and because they’re green year round.  The roots are also unlikely to damage the sidewalks or street.  



Don’t look for anything new on this blog for the next two weeks.  It’s vacation time.  On Saturday, I will fly from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to Norway to visit my brother Joe and his family in Lillesand for a few days before going off to Sweden to celebrate the wedding of my nephew Erik.  Those festivities will take place on an island near the city of Göteborg, and it will be a treat to go there because I worked there all summer in 1963 and haven’t been back since 1968. 

After Sweden, I will spend a week in Warsaw, Poland, visiting a former graduate student of mine as well as an old friend who is a professor at the University of Warsaw.  I’m not sure yet if he wants me to teach one of his classes, but I do know I’ll at least be visiting it.   I will return to Texas on July 11. 



Roscoe finally got a much needed break yesterday when the high temperature for the day was only 96°F.  It was the first time in almost two weeks that the high hadn’t been over 100°F.  Highs for the past week as recorded by Lyndall Underwood’s weather station are as follows:

June 14 – 105°
June 15 – 103°
June 16 – 104°
June 17 – 108°
June 18 – 107°
June 19 – 106°
June 20 – 103°
June 21 – 96°

Today’s forecast is for a high of 98°, but the rest of the week should once again see temperatures back above the century mark. 

The area continues to be bone dry.  Concerning the need for rain in these parts, the Sunday New York Times ran an article about the scarcity of water in the Colorado River which mentions that the current drought is “drier than any other October-through-May stretch in Texas history.”


Catarino Galvan, 82, died last Wednesday in Lubbock, and the funeral was on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Roscoe with Billy Joe Jay officiating. 

Born February 13, 1929, in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, he married Maria Luisa Rodriguez on June 5, 1955 in San Diego, Texas.  A farmer, he lived in Roscoe for forty years and attended the Methodist Church. 

Survivors include his wife, Maria Luisa, daughters Juanita Garcia and husband Daniel of Roscoe, Gracie Garza and husband Luis of Edinburg, Mari Cornett and husband Benny of Roscoe, Patty Hamilton and husband Lance of Fort Worth, and son Jose Galvan and wife Maria of Roscoe; as well as 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.


  1. Dang, you know how to do a vacation right!

  2. At the very least, it should be a nice break from all this hot, dry weather.

  3. Have fun and please tell Jerzy (sp? I don't know how to spell what sounds like 'Yejji') that I said hi! Eat some yummy Polska food and tell me all about it.


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