Howard County Firefighters Continue to Battle Grassfires

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

HOWARD COUNTY - For the fourth day in a row, Howard County has been battling grassfires. Another big fire flared up near FM 176 on Wednesday. NewsWest 9 traveled to Howard County to found out how crews were handling and holding up after battling all these blazes.

It only took a few sparks from one truck to cause more than 300 acres to go up in flames

"The fuels and the conditions we have, it's inevitable, we are going to have these fires," Howard County Fire Chief, Tommy Sullivan, said.

Sullivan has been going out to calls non-stop since Sunday morning and Wednesday was no exception.

"This fire was started by a vehicle that got stuck in the sand, it was a service truck and the exhaust set the grasses on fire," Sullivan said.

In no time, more than 300 acres went up in flames, they even had to evacuate the nearby drilling rig that was in danger. The hardest obstacle for firefighters on Wednesday was getting the trucks in to the fire.

"This is so sandy for our fire trucks, if we get the trucks in there and they're stuck, I have to use a bulldozer to pull the trucks out. So we kept the brush units out," Sullivan said.

So Howard County firefighters called for backup from the Texas Forest Service, Lenora Volunteer Fire Department and Martin County Volunteer Fire Department. They all came to offer their services and the Texas Forest Service even came with bulldozers and some aerial help.

"Their called the air attack. They fly and survey the fire and feeds the information to us, that's our eye in the sky from the Forest Service," Sullivan said.

After several hours of fighting the grassfire, firefighters were able to contain it but they want everyone to take the precautions needed so this doesn't happen again.

"Do everything to prevent them. Driving vehicles off into high grass and this one being stuck in the sand is a perfect example that these vehicles will start these grassfires," Sullivan said.

Fire experts said that this winter fire season is still underway and they want to make sure West Texans are careful so that they don't spark up more grassfires.