Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge community steps up to help Eastland County families who lost everything in wildfires

Breckenridge community steps up to help Eastland County families who lost everything in wildfires
March 18
16:45 2022

By Carla McKeown and Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Several Breckenridge and Stephens County groups are collecting donations of money, clothes, water, food and other items to take to Eastland County and other places in the region that have been devastated by wildfires in the past 24 to 36 hours.

Jenny Coffee State Farm has a trailer set up in front of the business at 1818 W. Walker St. for donations. Jenny Coffee and her husband, Clint Coffee, are the State Farm agents in Breckenridge and Eastland. Since they have connections to both communities, Breckenridge residents have been asking them how they can help.

“So, we figured since we’re right here in the middle of everything, we could just set up an easy place where people can just drive by and drop something off real quick,” Jenny Coffee said. “Every little bit does help. I know they’re just needing…everything.”

She said they have been in contact with many of the families who have lost homes and businesses in the fires, mostly in Eastland County, and the following items are especially needed:

  • Food
  • Bottled water ( stores were completely out in Eastland on Friday morning)
  • Bedding for cots
  • Feed and hay for horses, cattle and goats, etc. for rescued animals

Lytisha Pugh with Jenny Coffee State Farm, posts a sign on a trailer in front of the insurance agency Friday afternoon. They are collecting items to be donated to victims of the wildfires in Eastland County and to the firefighters battling the fires. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Additionally, Coffee is collecting supplies for nursing home residents who have been displaced to shelters. Some of the needed items include breakfast foods, fruit, oatmeal packets, yogurt, cereal, water, milk, eggs, apple juice, orange juice, baby wipes, doggy pads, adult briefs, Depends and toiletries.

For more information, call Jenny Coffee’s office at 254-559-8521.

Additionally, donations are being collected at the Stephens County Arena, according to a Facebook post by Carrol Grider Kanady. They are seeking donations of water, Gatorade, toiletries and basic care items and clothing, cattle feed and hay. Donations may be left at the building behind the concession stand.

The Stephens County wildfire that was burning on the Link Ranch Thursday night is 100 percent contained, according to the Breckenridge Fire Department.

However, the “Eastland Complex” fires in Eastland County are still burning. The Eastland Complex includes the Kidd Fire, which is only about 5 percent contained and has burned over 34,000 acres in the Carbon, Mangum, Kokomo and Gorman areas, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service Twitter page. Also included the Eastland Complex are the Wheat Field Fire near Sabanno, which is about 5 percent contained and has burned over 5,000 acres; the Walling Fire near Nimrod, which is about 98 percent contained has burned almost 400 acres; and the Oak Mott Fire, which straddles the Brown-Comanche county line just south of Eastland County and is about 30 percent contained with over 6,000 acres burned. The Texas Wildfire Incident Response System website updates information about the fires regularly.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to hold a press conference at the Eastland Fire Department at 5 p.m. today, Friday, March 18. Earlier in the day, he approved a request by Eastland County Judge Rex Fields for Texas and U.S. flags in Eastland County to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Eastland County Deputy Barbara Fenley, who died while rescuing victims impacted by the Eastland Complex Fire.

According to the Texas Forest Service, the fire danger forecast for Stephens County and the rest of the area will remain at a “Very High” fire danger rating today. On Saturday, March 19, the rating will drop slightly to “Moderate” and “High.” On Sunday, the rating forecast jumps back up to “Very High” and “Extreme” for much of the area. (See the maps below.)

“We’re just trying to get through the next few days,” said Stephens County Judge Michael Roach. “Locally, we just need everybody really to pay attention…for goodness sakes, no burning anything. Let us get past this windy fire danger and then  some rain is forecasted Monday. But the wind advisories have been issued for over the weekend, too, according to (KTAB-TV Chief Meteorologist) Sam Nichols, so we just need the residents of Stephens County can be really really safe.”

(Click map to enlarge)

Cutline, top photo: Amy Meadows, left, and Lee Ann McCormick load cases of water and canned goods into the trailer at Jenny Coffee State Farm Insurance on West Walker Street. The donations will be delivered to families in Eastland County whose homes were destroyed by wildfires, as well as to the firefighters that are working to put out the fires. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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