75-acre grass fire: It 'takes it out of you'

STEVE NASH steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Members of the Winchell, Brookesmith, Brownwood and Early fire departments responded to a 75-acre grass fire Sunday near Winchell.

WINCHELL — Winchell Fire Chief Steve Adams settled into his recliner Sunday afternoon, hoping to watch some March Madness college basketball on television.

Adams never got the chance.

Firefighters from Winchell, Brookesmith, Brownwood and Early responded to a 75-acre grass fire about a mile north of Winchell, in the area of U.S. Highway 377 and County Road 217. No structures were damaged.

Adams doesn't know how the fire started. He does know that high winds, low humidity and plenty of fuel for the fire — grass, brush and mesquite — created a rip environment for a wildfire, and firefighters were hampered by the rough terrain that was not friendly to the 10 to 12 trucks at the scene.

As the drought continues, Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston said, conditions aren't going to get any better — not without rain.

The county remains under an outdoor burn ban, and people need to use caution, Preston said — especially from noon to 9 p.m., when humidity is low and winds are high.

Adams said he thought about what prompted the volunteer firefighters to respond to the fire on a Sunday afternoon, and said it's fortunate for the county that they do.

Women with the Brookesmith fire department's auxiliary brought sandwiches to the firefighters — "a great thing," Adams said.

The firefighters "earned the sandwiches that they got," Adams said, adding that spending the day fighting a fire "takes it out of you." situationHigh