Breckenridge Texan

Local firefighters battle weekend blazes; county judge raises funds for VFDs

Local firefighters battle weekend blazes; county judge raises funds for VFDs
July 25
09:28 2022

By Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Local and area firefighters have been busy lately, fighting wildfires throughout the area, including at least 10 fires that burned along State Highway 67 on Friday.

An Eliasville-South Bend Volunteer Fire Department firefighter puts out hotspots at one of the fires on State Highway 67 on Friday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The fires were located sporadically along the east side of the road from the area near FM 1800 to about the Stephens-Young county line. The Breckenridge Fire Department joined the Eliasville-South Bend Volunteer Fire Department and others in fighting the wildfires.

Meanwhile, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported last night that the 1148 Fire — aka the PK Lake Fire — is 95 percent contained. It started on July 18 off of FM 1148 in Palo Pinto County and burned more than 450 acres. According to reports, five homes and five outbuildings were burned.

In Somervell County, near Glen Rose, the Chalk Mountain Fire has burned almost 7,000 acres and was 20 percent contained at about 8 p.m. Sunday night.

Several other smaller fires have popped up in recent days, including one northeast of Eastland. Dubbed the Oak Grove Fire, it burned more than 60 acres and is 95 percent contained.

For more details on specific fires, click here to visit the Texas A&M Forest Service Incident Viewer.

Advisory

On Saturday, the Texas Forest Service, in coordination with the Oklahoma Forestry Service, Southern Area Coordination Center, and the National Interagency Coordination Center, issued a “Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory.” It includes almost all of Stephens County.

The advisory addresses the risks to firefighters or public safety officials resulting from abnormal fuels and/or fire behavior.

According to the advisory, “Long-term drought and critically low live fuel moistures in high-risk fuels have produced dangerous fire behavior conditions across North Central Texas and the Texas Western Pineywoods, extending north into the central Plains of Oklahoma, southern Cross Timbers and mixed timber regions. Problematic fire behavior, including group tree torching and frequent spot fires, quickly transitions to extreme fire behavior under elevated to critical fire weather conditions, escalating to include crown runs and spotting out to 200 yards or further.”

Click here to see that advisory, including a map of the area it applies to.

Additionally, last Monday, the Stephens County Commissioners voted to extend the local Disaster Declaration for 30 days, banning outdoor burning due to the extreme dry conditions in the county. Click here to read more about that.

Assisting the Volunteer Fire Departments

Stephens County Judge Michael Roach put out a request for donations to the local volunteer fire departments last week and raised more than $4,000.

This year’s hot, dry conditions have led to numerous fires in the county and surrounding area. The fires, along with high fuel prices, have depleted the funds and worn out the equipment of the volunteer fire departments, he said.

There are several ways to donate:

  • Via Cash App: $MCRoach
  • Via Venmo: @Michael-Roach-71
  • By check made payable to one of the VFDs (Caddo VFD, Hubbard Creek VFD or Wayland VFD). Checks can be dropped off or mailed to the VFDs or given to Roach, who will deliver the donations.
  • By cash, directly to the VFDs or to Roach, who will give you a receipt.

Additionally, the annual Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride is scheduled for Nov. 5 this year. As they have for the past several years, the organizers of the ride will donate all proceeds to the area volunteer fire departments.

The Texas Forest Service battled the PK Lake Fire with both a helicopter and a plane dropping fire retardant last week. (Photo by Amy Bearden/Mineral Wells Area News)

Cutline, top photo: Capt. Jose Garcia with the Breckenridge Fire Department sprays water on hotspots along State Highway 67 on Friday, July 22. Firefighters battled at least 10 fires on the eastside of the highway between FM 1800 and the county line. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 


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