AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas A&M Forest Service said four new wildfires started Wednesday burning nearly 4,500 acres across our state. Fire crews with the state forest service are working nine active fires Thursday, including one near Abilene that has burned dozens of homes.

As a result, the state raised the wildland fire preparedness level to a five Wednesday. That’s the highest level.

They said the potential for large fires to get out of hand is high in Texas Thursday. They also said conditions across the state and the wildfires already burning could mean the state’s resources are stretched thin.

“Level 5 is the highest level of wildland fire activity and indicates heavy resource commitment to fires across the state,” they said in a release. “At this level, all fire-qualified resources become available for response.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said there are more than 500 personnel working the fires statewide — roughly 200 of those people are from out of state.

“The State of Texas continues to work closely with local officials to provide necessary resources to protect Texans,” Abbott said in a release.

Here in Central Texas, we could get some much needed rainfall over the next week. You can find the forecast for the Austin area on KXAN’s First Warning weather page.

Here’s where those fires are and what we know about them. The following information comes from the Texas A&M Forest Service through the Incident Information System, local fire crews and from Texas news outlets associated with KXAN.

Mesquite Heat fire

The Mesquite Heat fire is roughly 30 minutes from Abilene and is now nearly 10,000 acres, according to our sister station. It too is only 5% contained, according to fire crews.

  • Mesquite Heat fire
  • Mesquite Heat fire from the air
  • Mesquite Heat fire
  • Mesquite Heat fire

Dozens of homes have burned, according to our sister station in Abilene. Air resources have been requested to help fight this fire Thursday.

Information about Mesquite Heat fire evacuations and resources for people displaced can be found on the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. You can find the latest from our sister station, KTAB, on its website.

Sandstone Mountain fire

Fire crews said they made good progress on the Sandstone Mountain fire in Llano County Wednesday. That fire is roughly an hour and a half from Austin.

As of Thursday morning, the Sandstone Mountain fire is 75% contained and 350 acres. Fire crews reported one structure was threatened earlier this week but was saved.

That fire was caused by a roadside fire on Highway 71, according to fire crews. No evacuations or closures are in place.

Slab Road fire

The Slab Road fire is now 90% contained and has burned roughly 100 acres, according to fire crews. That fire also started along Highway 71 and is near the Sandstone Mountain fire.

The forest service reported air resources were requested but “were committed to active fires in the state.” Crews will have to continue containing that fire from the ground as a result.

Dry Branch fire

The Dry Branch fire started Wednesday and is already 4,000 acres. It is only 50% contained as of Thursday afternoon. That fire is burning in Hamilton County which is northwest of Austin and west of Waco.

There are mandatory evacuations in place on FM 2005 between 1047 and CR 511.

The Austin Fire Department said they sent a crew of four people to go fight that fire late Wednesday night.

Pope and Pope 2 fires

The Pope 2 fire is now more than 2,500 acres and 50% contained. That fire is roughly 25 miles away from Eldorado, Texas. Fire crews said they have been able to attack this fire from the air.

Pope 2 fire
Pope 2 fire (Courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service)

The Pope 2 fire started a few days after a nearby fire called the Pope fire. That fire was started on the Pope Ranch.

Mayfield fire

The Mayfield fire is roughly 30 minutes from San Saba, Texas. That fire started May 12 and is 60% contained and 1,250 acres.

Mayfield fire
The Mayfield fire (Courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service)

Fire crews reported the fire was holding heat, and the chances for the fire to grow were moderate to high Thursday. Because of little rainfall, fuels across the state are particularly dry.

Coconut fire

The Coconut fire is 25,000 acres and 5% contained. It’s in far north Texas near Vernon.

Coconut fire
Coconut fire (Courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service)

On Tuesday, a Texas A&M firefighter was burned while working this fire after crews said thunderstorms developed, causing winds to push the fire an unexpected direction. The firefighter was taken to the hospital but was released and is expected to make a full recovery.

Bowman fire

The Bowman fire is now fully contained, but crews continued to mop up the roughly 100-acre fire that started earlier this week.

That fire is roughly 20 miles east of Carrizo Springs, near the Mexico-Texas border.

South Rim Too fire

Th South Rim Too fire is now contained after starting in the Chisos Mountains and burning roughly 30 acres. Because of the location of the fire, park mule teams had to bring supplies to that fire, according to crews.

Johnson Fork fire

The Johnson Fork fire is under 100 acres and is now 80% contained. That fire started last week in Kimble County.