Ten fire trucks — one from every department in Brown County — traveled to Comanche County Tuesday night to help battle a massive grass and brush fire, and firefighters spent the entire night fighting the 3,500-acre fire.
Brownwood Fire Chief Del Albright said firefighters from Brown County met in their trucks at the Early fire station around 8 p.m. and traveled in two groups of five trucks each. Brownwood firefighters didn’t return until 5 a.m. Wednesday, Albright said, and the Brownwood department sent a truck back Wednesday at the request of regional officials in Abilene to help with “containment issues.”
“There’s a pretty high fire risk out there for sure. Everybody’s got to be careful,” Albright said.
Early Fire Chief Travis Eoff said the combination of hilly country and thick trees made it difficult to get to the fire, which spread across southern Comanche County.
One volunteer firefighter was taken to Hamilton County Hospital. His name and condition were unavailable Wednesday.
Chris Gable, fire coordinator for Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue, said firefighters were hot and tired after working a full shift battling the blaze alongside firefighters from about 30 surrounding departments.
The call for help came about 4 p.m. Tuesday requesting assistance from Erath County firefighters. Gable said various departments from across the area remained at the scene until after dark.
“We pulled out about 11 p.m., when things had finally calmed down," Gable said. "The wind settled down a bit and the humidity always increases at dark.”
But just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Comanche County sent out a second call for help. "We just received a call requesting mutual aide," Gable said Wednesday. “Four of our departments are heading back out there now.” Comanche County Commissioner Bobby Schuman said the fire started along CR 286. Schuman said as of Wednesday morning it was reported that two homes and a few barns had been destroyed.
He said he was not sure of the exact location of the destroyed properties. Schuman said it had not been determined what had ignited the blaze. However, he said due to the location of the ignition point, it was possible it could have been a discarded cigarette.
“It is really tough country out there,” Schuman said. “The dry countryside and high winds have really made things tough on the firefighters.”
Although the battle has not been an easy one, Schuman said the fire was about 65-percent contained and an area of about 50 feet had been cleared around hot spots to help the ignition of brush and
trees and hopefully help further contain the blaze. Schuman also said in addition to the slew of volunteers and firefighters aiding in the effort,
the Texas Forestry Service brought in helicopters, spotter planes and bulldozers.
— Amanda Kimble of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune contributed to this report.