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Killeen man nearly loses control of planned burn

Posted at 9:06 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 22:06:22-04

With plant life quickly drying out, following a wildfire near Stillhouse Hollow Lake over the weekend, there is now a burn ban in effect in Bell County.

"Weather has made conditions to where it is unsafe to burn safely," said Landy Setzer, Temple Fire Marshal. "It creates a higher risk of those burns getting out of control.”

This is something Mark Hoban of Killeen learned the hard way when a controlled burn on his property quickly got out of hand Monday afternoon.

The fire spread so fast it caught him off guard, even with him having had several decades of experience with controlled burns.

"About 1-1:15 I started the fire and it immediately started spreading and there was no wind which was surprising to me,” said Mark Hoban, Killeen resident.

Hoban didn’t know there was a burn ban because it hadn’t been put into effect when he called early Monday morning.

Luckily, a local fire department was checking on people who had planned controlled burns and they showed up at his house just in time.

"By the grace of God and his wisdom, they showed up in time and stopped a major fire. As you can see in the background, it could have went in them cedars and it would have ripped the neighborhood,” said Hoban.

The fire serves as a valuable lesson learned by Hoban.

“This shows you that when things are too dry, don’t try to do something by yourself. Always have two people,” said Hoban.

Burning while a ban is in effect can result in fines but as Hoban learned, that’s not the only risk.

”It can also affect the area and the land around you, any homes or other structures that could be in the path of a fire that has spread,” said Setzer.

The takeaway is to follow burn bans and if you are operating a controlled burn, don’t do it alone.