Several fires continued to burn south of Graham Monday evening. Fire crews have been working on the blazes for several days. Monday afternoon, State Fire Officials got a chance to survey some of the damage.
While crews were beginning to get a hand on the situation, the fire continued to spread some. "Right now the Possum Kingdom West fire has burned south of Graham. We had containment lines and the fires crossed one of the containment lines," said Texas Forest Service Regional Fire Coordinator Cody Rattan.
For the first few days of the blazes, Rattan was the Incident Commander of the fire. Monday, he pulled back to serve in an advisory role, so he could be available to serve should other fires break out. Rattan has had just a few hours of sleep in the past several days. He is responsible for 11 counties in Texas. "It's been hectic," he said.
While touring the damage, Rattan pointed out that quite a bit of oilfield equipment has been damaged in the blaze. One crude oil tank exploded early Monday and was still burning in the afternoon. Thick, black smoke could be seen pouring into the sky for miles.
The outlook was good for getting things stopped, however. "Right now we have the forward progress of the fire stopped everything is looking pretty good, things are starting to heat-up on the fire a little bit were just trying to hold it where its at," Rattan said around 2PM Monday.
Helping in the efforts were crews from around the country. "30 different agencies from all over the United States. We've got fire departments from a number of counties in the area," he said. Some of the Nation's most-elite wild land firefighters are on the scene. Several "hot shot" teams of 20 men, all highly-trained, were on the ground. In the air, several aircraft worked to fight the blaze.