By Mike Henry
KBYG – Special to NewsWest 9
BIG SPRING - It is time to assess the damages wrought by one of the most threatening wildfires to strike the Big Spring area in anyone's memory. The bad news: several structures lost, including at least two homes. The good news: it could have been so much worse.
Since the very beginning of what was dubbed "the Boykin Road Fire" by the Texas Forest Service, fire fighters from all over West Texas joined to defend numerous homes and entire neighborhoods from a wind driven blaze that quickly took hold after what is believed to be an electrical spark from power lines on Monday evening.
Winds pushed the fire originally toward the east and across the top and sides of South Mountain. Then early Tuesday morning, a shift in wind direction and spectacular flames lit up the night sky as the fires pushed back the other way, threatening homes again atop South Mountain near Driver Road.
There have already been many stories of heroic actions taken to defend homes throughout the entire ordeal. One resident with a home on Riva Ridge told us how he literally watched firefighters save his family's home from certain destruction.
Throughout much of Tuesday afternoon, a Texas Forest Service "heli-tanker" helicopter could be seen and heard as it swooped down over Comanche Trail Park lake, took in a large quantity of water and then transported and dropped the water onto flames nearby.
Thousands of acres after it began, officials announced Tuesday afternoon that the fires were contained and crews were monitoring hot spots. ONCOR electric delivery was restoring power to most everyone by early Tuesday evening.
Now, families and other property owners will begin to assess damages. There was also a lot of communication equipment on top of South Mountain that took some hard hits, according to reports.
Local Rotarians were cooking up burgers Tuesday afternoon for everyone, not too very far away from where smoke could still be seen rising into the air. People were also collecting donations for families who were directly affected by the firestorm.
Fire officials we spoke with Tuesday said the entire event was "unprecedented" in its scope and threat to life and property. But most would agree that the battle to save a community was also unprecedented, and many said they couldn't wait to give a hug to the first fire fighter they see.