The University of Arizona

Hindrances and Successes: Mapping the 2006 East Amarillo Complex Wildfires in Gray County, Texas

Renaldo J. Arroya, Tina Delahunty


The East Amarillo Complex wildfires were the largest wildfire event in the United States in 2006 with over 367,000 ha burned.1 Indeed the National Interagency Fire Center data places the event as the largest in the contiguous 48 states since the Yellowstone fires of 1988.1 The complex was composed of two large wildfires: the Borger Fire, the more northerly, and the I-40 Fire, the more southerly. It affected nine counties in the Texas Panhandle even though it only burned for a few days. The conditions that supported the fires of this complex were the perfect storm for extreme grassland fire (low humidity, high velocity winds and high air temperature, and the nature of the fuels).2 It was these conditions that fostered 11-foot flames and promoted the fires to spread 45 miles in just 9 hours.2 These fires resulted in the largest loss of human life by wildfire in 2006.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rangelands_v34i2_arroyo

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