County departments answer more than a dozen reports of grass fires over the weekend

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Jan. 21, 2007 7- Hopkins County's regular and volunteer firefighters were earning their reputations this weekend, responding to more than a dozen reports of grass fire around the area.

While none of the fires caused damage to homes or major property loss, the unusually high number of reports underscores recent reminders from fire prevention specialists of the dangers of wildfires.

Dormant vegetation serves as handy fodder for fires that spark up in the county, and the windy conditions that the area has seen in recent days only helps to fuel the spread of grassland fires.

Fire experts also caution against a false sense of hope resulting from the rains that fell on the county today. Because of the lack of green flora due to the winter season, the precipitation does little to make vegetation less susceptible to fires. It only makes it easier for fire trucks to get stuck in the mud while battling blazes in open fields.

Most of the fires reported over the weekend came Sunday, but the wild weekend began with two three calls on Saturday, the first two coming in barely half an hour apart.

The reports included:

  • At 12:58 p.m. Saturday on County Road 1103, a fast-moving fire involving approximately two acres. Hopkins County, Sulphur Springs, Brinker and Miller Grove fire departments were involved in the fire fight, which lasted until 2:28 p.m.
  • At 1:31 p.m. Saturday, Winnsboro Fire Department was asked to help with a grass fire near Pickton, joining Pickton-Pine Forest, Como and Brinker firefighters at the scene. They sounded the “all clear” at 1:49 p.m.
  • Arbala and Hopkins County firefighters were dispatched to a grass fire on County Road 1195 from 5:09 p.m. to 6:24 p.m. Saturday.
  • A man called six times, beginning at 10:35 a.m. Sunday, to report and offer updates on a grass fire on State Highway 19 south near County Road 1181. Arbala volunteers were dispatched to the fire from 10:54 a.m. to 11:22 a.m.
  • A call came in at 10:52 a.m. Sunday of a grass fire on SH 19 near FM 1567.
  • A small grass fire was reported alongside FM 2297 near CR 1102 at 1:42 p.m. Sunday. Firemen from Hopkins County and Arbala were sent to save the day.
  • An unidentified caller phoned in a report of a grass fire on CR 3533 near Saltillo at 1:57 p.m. (He may have sought anonymity because he started the fire with a welder.) Hopkins County, Saltillo and Pickton-Pine Forest fire departments responded. The fire was out by 3:05 p.m.
  • A grass fire was called in at 2:31 p.m. on FM 69 north of I-30. Firefighters from the Dike and Hopkins County departments put out the fire by 3:36 p.m. Dike, Tira and Hopkins County firemen were summoned to the scene on FM 69 again after the fire rekindled at about 5:45 p.m. The fire was out by 6:20 p.m.
  • Another grass fire report was made at 2:33 p.m. on CR 4760 in the North Hopkins area. The fire, which was described as fast-moving with plenty of dry vegetation to fuel its spread, was put out by North Hopkins and Hopkins County firemen.
  • What was reported as a grass fire behind the Arbala Fire Station on FM 1567 at 7:29 p.m. turned out to be a controlled burn. Unfortunately, the burn had gotten out of control. Arbala firemen were assisted by Miller Grove and Hopkins County firefighters in getting the flames back under control. All was back in order by 8:22 p.m.
  • Yet another controlled burn got out of hand on FM 1567 near County Road 1195 at 11:14 p.m. Arbala firefighters were sent to the scene.

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