With triple-digit heat, no rain, and extremely dry conditions, it’s the perfect formula for wildfires.
“We’ve had a lot of grass fires the last week but today started a little before lunch started over in Archer County over off east Jentsch Road so we went ahead and toned out three, four, five departments but it got out of hand real fast,” Archer County Sheriff Jack Curd said.
Curd said they’re unsure what exactly started the West Bend Fire on Tuesday, but the extreme heat quickly caused it to grow, burning more than 5,000 acres, and even with responding agencies from Archer, Clay, and Wichita counties, and the Texas A&M Forest Service coming to help, it’s still a big job.
“We were making good progress. We do have additional resources than what we started with. We also have aerial resources that are being crucial to this and have proven to be very productive on this,” Texas A&M Forest Service Public Information Officer Angel Lopez-Portillo said.
While efforts are still underway on this fire, officials know that wildfires will be something they continue to battle throughout the summer months.
“When there’s no moisture in the vegetation, it’s easily ignited, so anything could spark it up whether its chains dragging. So if you’re dragging a trailer make sure to double check,” Portillo said.
“If you’re welding or doing anything to cause a fire, have spotters and have waters, but right now is not a good time to be out here burning anything. I think Clay County is in a burn ban, too. We’re in a burn ban,” Curd said.
First responders just warn everyone to be mindful at just how quickly a small flame could turn into a wildfire.
“Man you gotta be careful because this thing went from just a small two foot fire to all the way over here into Clay County and it got here quick,” Curd said.
The fire did have U.S. 287 shut down in both directions Tuesday evening but has been reopned since.
As of 8:03 p.m., the Texas A&M Forest Service is reporting more than 5,000 acres have burned and is 50% contained.