Howard County Blaze Shows "The Big Ones Are Coming"

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

HOWARD COUNTY - It's a sight all too familiar to West Texans. Flames erupted across Howard County Wednesday, scorching 180 acres.

The fire sparked from train tracks near Cauble Road and burned across oil fields. It melted power lines, the voltage feeding the flames.

"It would turn around and go the other direction and then the embers off of the fire was causing spot fires 100 yards ahead of the fire, so this fire kept us jumping," Tommy Sullivan, Fire Chief for the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, said.

Now after nine hours of battle, the fire's all but fizzled out, currently standing at 90% contained, expected to be completely out by Friday night with no cause determined.

But firefighters said this blaze was just the beginning and it was hard enough to put out.

"The terrain, we had to call in 'dozers and maintainers to cut roads so we'd have access to the fire," Sullivan said. "A precursor to what we're looking for the rest of this fire season."

Temperatures reached a record high of 102 on Wednesday and more of the same is expected for Thursday.

Firefighters said now is the time to protect your home in any way you can, saying this fire has officially opened the wildfire season of 2012.

"Grasses scalped down, trim back the cedar trees and give us a defendable space so we can protect your property," Sullivan said. "Today shows that the big ones are coming."