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Photo: Big Bend National Park
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An historic area of Big Bend National Park was destroyed Wednesday by a wildfire, according to park officials.
Smoke from the wildfire was first spotted on Tuesday on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River, but by 6 p.m. Wednesday park staff saw embers crossing over and causing flare ups in the park.
The fire rapidly spread, and embers landed on the barracks building at the Castolon Historic Area, which housed the La Harmonia Store and Castolon Visitor Center.
According to park officials, the fire destroyed the building and the nearby Officer’s Quarters suffered slight damage. No one was injured in the blaze.
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“It is heartbreaking to have lost La Harmonia, a major icon of Big Bend’s history,” said Acting Superintendent Tom VandenBerg. “High temperatures, extremely dry conditions, and strong winds have made this fire particularly challenging. The entire staff extends our deep appreciation to all of the fire crews who are working hard to contain this fire.”
According to a statement from Big Bend officials, the Castolon Historic Area was built about 100 years ago and housed units of the U.S. Cavalry during the Mexican Revolution.
The wildfire has yet to be fully contained, but firefighters from Terlingua and Fort Stockton, as well as park crews, are working to extinguish the blaze.
Due to the ongoing fire, certain areas of the park have been closed, including the Santa Elena Canyon and Cottonwood Campground areas, Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, Old Maverick Road and River Road West from Buenos Aires to Castolon.
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