BURNET COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Firefighters battled a brush fire that broke out on State Highway 29 about 9 miles west of Burnet.
The Cassie Volunteer Fire Department says the fire started just before 11 a.m. and multiple agencies worked to put out the fire. KXAN’s First Warning Weather Team said winds were gusting to 25 mph.
“The wind is playing a big factor in it, but we’re also having very rough conditions out here, even our big five ton trucks are having difficulty getting around,” said Cassie Volunteer Fire Department Chief Derrick Curtis.
Curtis says no homes or people were in harm’s way, but believes at least 20 to 30 acres of land was burned. At one point, he says 10 agencies from surrounding communities stepped in to help, as of now it’s believed the fire started from a controlled burn on the property weeks before.
“Just a little ember can burn for a long time in a log, especially if a northern comes in and it’s that right condition and that right humidity,” said Curtis. “Those conditions can just blow that ember up and it will go.”
A man living next to where the fire started says he was at work when he found out. “I just decided that I needed to come home, I got my phone and I took a video of me driving and just seeing the smoke come over the side,” said landowner Blake Birkeland.
Birkeland says the area is extremely dry even though there was a little rain earlier in the week. “I always contact the sheriff’s department when I’m about to burn,” he said. “We try to do all the burning that we can when we are able to. We try to keep our area clean so that fires don’t start. All it takes is a cigarette.”
Burnet County is not currently under a burn ban, however after this fire Chief Curtis says commissioners might look at reinstating the ban. Until then, he says this fire is a lesson for anyone looking to spend time outdoors this weekend.
“Smokey the Bear always says ‘your fires not out until it’s drowned,’ so go back to childhood and remember that stuff. Make sure the fires out,” said Curtis.
While fighting the fire, Curtis says many trucks were taken out of service due to blown tires or just getting stuck in the rough terrain. He says crews will have to be prepared for anything, because this fire could continue to burn for several days.
Emergency crews say there was a smaller secondary fire closer to Bertram, but the one near Burnet is the bigger of the two.