Fire at Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge Now Contained

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ALAMO – Authorities said the fire in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is 100 percent contained.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned this isn’t the first time that an ember from a fire in Mexico caused a fire at a national refuge.

Lush trees, beautiful pathways, amazing wildlife are what Mary and Dave Bruun enjoy most about the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.

"There is lots of birding that we can see. It's just a really, really nice place to go see," Bruun said.

The couple is concerned about the fire that ignited at the refuge last night.

Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge project manager Robert Jess told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the fire which is currently burning was caused by an ember from a fire on the Mexican river bank.

He tells us this isn't the first time an ember from Mexico has crossed the river.

"It's been a tremendous concern and we have had years where we have had up to 300 fires. And that goes from falcon lake all the way east to the island," Jess explained.

Jess said this fire is the largest the refuge has seen in many years. Nearly 325 of the 2,800 acres have burned.

He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS in addition to fighting the fire, firefighters must be on the lookout for falling routing trees.

"There is a reason why they are widow makers. You got several thousand pounds of trees standing there, suddenly coming down on you, so it is a hazard," Jess said.

Scott Affeldt is the assistant fire management officer of the refuge. He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS no nearby residents are at risk. His crew has managed to completely contain the fire.

"Trails, the river and a paved road that make up that containment line. That's keeping everything basically inside that polygon," Affeldt explained.

Affeldt said now that the fire is contained it will actually be a benefit to the biological ecosystem of the refuge.

"It's burning up some of those trees that are slowly rotting away. It's getting rid of them. It's going to rejuvenate and put all that nutrients back into the soil. And we are going to get new plant growth in areas where there currently isn't plant growth," Affeldt told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Affeldt explained that will eventually lead to a more beautiful refuge. That's great news for the Bruuns.


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