’Definitely a dangerous fire’

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
A Texas A&M Forest Service helicopter dumps water on the main fire near the Westridge subdivison off U.S. Highway 377 South Monday afternoon.

“Everybody did a great job. Good interagency cooperation.”

That was how Brownwood Fire Chief Eric Hicks summed up the firefighting efforts of multiple agencies in stopping the grass fires that began late Monday morning off U.S. Highway 377 South.

The Texas A&M Forest Service — which provided a helicopter three dozers — estimated 20 to 25 acres burned. The Forest Service was one of 29 public service agencies responding to the fire.

Hicks was the incident commander.

The main fire threatened the Westridge subdivision on the hill across the highway from the Section Hand restaurant and near 3M. Brownwood police evacuated residents on Brookdale Lane, Hicks said.

He said the fire was headed for the subdivision before firefighters stopped it.

In addition to the main fire, several smaller fires burned, with breaks between them, stretching about a mile, Hicks said.

“There is not a known cause,” Hicks said, adding that there were multiple points of origin.

The fires began around 11:30 a.m. and were out by 2 p.m., although firefighters remained on the scene unit around 9 p.m.

Speaking at the scene Monday afternoon, Hicks said the fire was “definitely a dangerous fire, close to town and threatening neighborhoods, so a pretty dangerous situation.”

Brown County Judge Paul Lilly said from the scene that additional state resources were available if needed.

Brown County resident George Huseman said he was in the area of the Mid-Tex Federal Credit Union when he saw one of the smaller fires in a pasture.

Huseman said he and two others went into the pasture and were able to beat about three-quarters of the fire down before a fire truck arrived.

Not realizing there were other fires, Huseman watched other fire trucks drive by, on their way to other fires. Huseman said he wondered “why aren’t they stopping here?”

Huseman saw the main fire later and said there were flames on top of some of the trees on the hill.