Wildlife Refuge Reopens After Fire
ALAMO - The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge re-opened Sunday after being shut down by a fire that sparked Wednesday.
It's a different scene from Wednesday when flames ripped through the refuge.
Winter Texan, Bill Landgraf, and his family said they visit the refuge every year.
"We came to the refuge yesterday, only to be surprised that the gate was closed because of the fire," said Landgraf.
They came back today happy to see the gates open.
"Very much so. It would have put a real crimp in our plans if it wouldn't have been open today," said Landgraf.
Eduardo Placencia, engine captain with the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge says the fire began on Mexico's side of the river.
"The initial start was right off the river. There was a fire off the river bank, that spotted over to the refuge," said Placencia.
Evidence of where the fire started is still visible from this side of the border.
"We have it estimated at 330 acres that was burned. Initially, I would say it started off about 50," said Placencia.
Placencia said this is the largest fire he's ever heard of at the refuge.
"I think the last time that something's burned here was 2008, and it was actually 4 acres," said Placencia.
Placencia said they had to fight fire with fire to get it under control.
Although the refuge is open to the public, he urges everyone to stay away from certain trails for their own safety.
"We just ask the public to please stay away from pintail trail, vireol trail, and river road trail," said Placencia.
Placencia said the vegetation from previous flooding helped spread the flames because it was so dry.