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Wildfires spread across Brazos Valley, acres of land burn amid hot temperatures

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 23:35:29-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — The high temperatures and winds we’re seeing in parts of Texas are fueling wildfires right now. Texas A&M Forest Service tells us how they’re working to get those flames under control.

"Yesterday, the Texas A&M Forest Service, we responded to 24 new wildfires that burned almost 8,000 acres,” said Erin O’Connor, Lead PIO, Texas A&M Forest Service. “As of this morning, we are still responding to several of those. We have about 15 active fires today.”

One of those active fires is in Mineral Wells, about four hours north of Bryan, between Abilene and Denton.

“We’re experiencing very hot and very dry conditions,” said O’Connor. “On top of an already quite extensive and intensifying drought, all of these conditions combined will support wildfire activity.”

The Texas A&M Forest Service was on the scene trying to contain the fire.

“Dealing with a lot of difficulties on this fire,” said Boe Adler, Task Force Coordinator Texas A&M Forest Service. “The heat has been oppressive. It’s been really hard on firefighters. It’s hot on the ground and hot in the air.”

O’Connor said humans are one of the main reasons we are seeing numerous wildfires.

“Most of our wildfires are caused by humans,” said O’Connor. “Humans and their activities, things that cause a spark. Whether that’s debris burning, welding, even just parking in tall dry grass can ignite a wildfire.”

She said they do use water to help contain wildfires but also use other strategies.

"Typically, we utilize those dozers that have the equipment, and what they do is they put containment lines around the fire,” said O’Connor. “They are removing the vegetation down to the bare mineral soil and kind of putting a perimeter around the fire to kind of contain it.”

O’Connor said when the fire burns up to the containment line, the fire stops as it has nothing left to burn.

One of the largest wildfires near the Brazos Valley that has not been fully contained yet is in Walker County.

“Currently, the Nelson Creek fire in Walker County that is currently, 1,852 acres and 80 percent contained,” said O’Connor.

Closer to home, we’ve seen two recent wildfires.

“We did have a fire yesterday in Grimes County as well as one in Washington,” said O’Connor. “Those were relatively small, under 100 acres.”

Adler said it has been difficult trying to contain the numerous wildfires.

“Currently trying to work to increase our staffing capabilities, dealing with some lack of available resources and not being able to get all of the pieces that we need to complete the puzzle out here,” said Adler.

With temperatures in the triple digits and wildfires occurring often, Adler said it’s important for homeowners to have a quick escape route.

“One of the things they can do to assist is make sure they have defensible space around their homes and being prepared to evacuate,” said Adler.

While wildfires are unpreventable, you can learn ways to reduce the risk of your property being damaged here: Wildfires and Disasters | Current Situation TFS (tamu.edu).