Mind Fire Burns 3,000 Acres in Brewster County

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

BREWSTER COUNTY-- A control burn quickly got out of control this past Tuesday and it's being blamed for burning 3,000 acres in Brewster County.

The Texas Forest Service says it's about 60 to 65 percent contained, but it hasn't been easy.

"A prescribed burn got out of hand. The wind came up. The Forest Service is always quick to get here and help us out," Brewster County Emergency Management Coordinator, Thomas Santry, said.

It's called the Mind Fire but this 3,000 acre blaze was supposed to be called the "Mine Fire", since it started at an old quarry on the Woodward Ranch, southwest of Alpine.

According to Santry, "It just moved over the mountain and went that way. We were hoping that the wind would change. If it turned back around burned back on itself, it would be out."

A crew of 60 plus has been battling the fire on the ground. It stretches from close to Cathedral Mountain and works it's way east to Highway 118.

The terrain doesn't lend itself to bulldozers or fire trucks. That's why the Texas Forest Service is relying heavily on air support coming from heavy air tankers flying up above.

Two helicopters, four single engine air tankers (SEAT's) and three heavy equipment air tankers are among the air assault squad lending a hand from above. All of them are being guided by their eye in the sky, telling them where they need to go.

"They can get the planes in there and drop retardant and water and save many acres and houses," Santry commented.

Several homes and other structures are in the area and are threatened by the fire. Officials say none have been damaged and there is no need for evacuations.

"The Sheriff's Department has gone to a couple of houses, just to talk to people and belay their concerns. We are watching everything," Santry explained.

At 65 percent containment, the Texas Forest Service says the Mine Fire should be completely under control in a couple of days.