Fire near National Guard Armory burns 250 acres

Jimmy Potts / Brownwood Bulletin

After more than six hours, firefighters from 12 agencies, including state and federal entities, finally quelled a large grassfire Wednesday night at the Camp Bowie National Guard training center.

Due to strong winds and dry conditions the fire quickly spread, leaving more than 250 acres of scorched earth.

“The way the wind was blowing we did not have enough resources early on,” City of Brownwood Fire Marshall Buddy Preston said. “We backed out and changed our strategy to a different attack so we could keep the fire from jumping off the property. Then, we called in for air support.”

Preston said Texas Forest Service of Abilene made six aerial drops of fire retardant before firefighters from Brownwood, Early, Zephyr, Bangs and numerous other area departments got the blaze under control. Preston said the fire began around 2:30 p.m., when the heat from a discharged slug during handgun and shotgun training sparked dry grass.

“The dry conditions you can say was ultimately the factor. We knew what started it when we got there,” Preston said. “They were doing training on a firing range. We got it under control by about 8:30 last night. Everybody did a great job. We had 12 different agencies represented.”

Preston added, even though most citizens will not be doing target practice over the weekend, Wednesday’s fire taught that even the smallest heating element can cause major damage under the right conditions.

“Right now, the fire conditions are very extreme,” Preston said. “Low humidity, high winds and high vegetation are the perfect storm. We’re under extreme fire conditions through Monday. Everybody needs to be cautious and careful about what they’re doing outdoors and what activities they are taking place in.”