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Fire Crews Protect Texas McDonald Observatory April 20, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Observatory.
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(Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory)

The McDonald Observatory in West Texas’ remote Davis Mountains is home to one of the world’s largest optical telescopes and the StarDate radio program. It’s also a residence for about 80 staff and family members, some of whom remained as fire crews defended the property from one of the wildfires that have devastated the state this month.

As the wildfire crept up a canyon perhaps 1 mile from the center late Saturday, a regional disaster team set a controlled fire on a nearby peak, aiming to consume the brush that otherwise could have led the wildfire to the observatory, staff member Frank Cianciolo said.

The controlled burn seems to have worked, and the wildfire – though not contained – is burning elsewhere, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. (Source CNN)

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