A Fire In Wood County Scorches 90 Acres - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/8/06-Hawkins

A Fire In Wood County Scorches 90 Acres

Farm equipment failure is to blame for a 90-acre blaze in Wood County this afternoon. It happened around 2:00 p.m. just off of County Road 2869 in Hawkins. A man was reportedly working in his field when his tractor overheated, and started a small grass fire that would spread quickly.

It took two and a half hours, eight volunteer fire departments, two helicopters, and the Texas Forestry Service, but they finally got the blaze under control.  "We had to jump, and get it. We were real busy for a pretty good while," said Rick Wilson, the incident commander on the scene.

"We pulled up, and the woods were fully involved, and there were a lot of structures that were right close to being involved," said Chris Carlson, who has been with the Hawkins Fire Department for nine years.

Subdivisions lined the edge of this fire. Thirty homes and 120 people were evacuated. If it weren't for the quick action of the firefighters, they might have lost everything. "There's a trailer right over here. The fire was burning right up to the underpinning of the trailer. We got it out," Carlson said.

An animal rescue mission was even threatened, but good neighbors took the more than 200 animals to safer ground.

The Texas Forestry Service says fires of this magnitude could become more common if people do not begin to heed the fire warnings.

"Most of what's taking place out in Central Texas, we're just now reaching the point where we are having a lot more serious fires like they're having out in the western part of the state," said Texas Forestry Service Fire Information Officer Lee McNeely.

"I heard the other day that any spark, like on this fire, from equipment use, grinder, welding tractor, stands a 90 percent chance of igniting a fire under red flag conditions like we had today," McNeely said.

In spite of the large amount of land loss, the commander on the scene was pleased with the work of the firefighters. No one was injured, and no homes were damaged.

Lindsay Wilcox, reporting. lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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