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Castolon Fire

Unit Information

Big Bend National Park
National Park Service
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834, TX 79834

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This incident is no longer being updated.

On 5/23 the fire made a run in the afternoon. The fire burned past Cottonwood campground and past Blue Creek drainage. By 9 p.m. the fire's progress ended at a rock outcrop with minimal fuels next to the river and park road (route 16). Winds were reduced today on 5.24, fire behavior was low with a few minor interior smokes in the afternoon. Humidity was higher compared to the day before and helped to limit fire behavior. More accurate mapping has the fire size estimated at 944 acres. From 5/24 until present there was no new fire growth.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginWednesday May 22nd, 2019 approx. 06:00 PM
LocationAlong three miles of the Rio Grande between Santa Elena Canyon and Beunos Aires campsite, in Big Bend National Park.
Incident CommanderChris Hanson
Incident DescriptionThe Castolon Fire Originated In Mexico On May 21 And Jumped The Rio Grande, Burning Into The Park Near Castolon On May 22. There Was No New Fire Growth From 5/24 Until Present.
Coordinates29.134 latitude, -103.514 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel25
Size944 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained90%
Fuels Involved

Riparian vegetation, old growth mesquite, and non-native plants (River cane, salt cedar).

Significant Events

Many historic and modern structures, and Cottonwood Campground have been successfully protected. The historic barracks building, which housed the La Harmonia Store and Castolon Visitor Center suffered extensive damage, along with the bathroom building.


Planned Actions

Mop-up, monitoring interior hot spots and hot spots on perimeter.

Projected Incident Activity

Mop-up,monitoring interior hot spots and hot spots on perimeter.


There was no new fire growth from 5/24 until present.

The Old Maverick Road has reopened, allowing for access to Santa Elena Canyon. Please note that this is an unpaved road recommended for high clearance vehicles only. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is open to Mile 22. Castolon and Cottonwood Campground remain closed.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Hot, with low humidity