Motorcyclist air flighted after crash in Newark


NEWARK — A motorcyclist was air flighted to John Peter Smith Hospital, Wednesday, after an accident on Farm Market 718 in Newark.

First responders evacuate a motorcyclist to John Peter Smith Hospital, Wednesday afternoon. (Messenger photo by Joe Duty)

Assistant Chief of the Newark Fire Department Ed Hawthorne said due to the nature of the injuries sustained during the crash the motorcyclist involved would need to be medically evacuated.

The crash happened along FM 718 in Newark at around 4:15 p.m. Hawthorne said only one vehicle was involved in the crash.

The identity of the motorcyclist was not made available.

 

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Parts of Grasslands torched


  A massive fire torched more than 500 acres of the LBJ National Grasslands Friday.
Firefighters from more than 20 fire departments, including 10 Wise County departments, battled the intense blaze centered around County Road 2391 near Hopewell Baptist Church close to Alvord.
Flames hurled several feet in the air and covered the sky with black smoke.
Around 6:15 p.m., Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell said it was “20 percent” contained.
“We keep having spot fires jumping in front of it,” Powell said.
“It’s very difficult [to fight] due to the vegetation.”
Temperatures in the mid 90s, steady breeze and humidity levels in the low 20s pushed flames over crisp, overgrown vegetation. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index average for Wise County Friday was 730. The index measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture. The scale goes to 800.
The fire jumped across Old Decatur Road, but the forward progress to the north was stymied.
Powell was unsure if any structures had been lost at the time of his last update before press time.
The large Barclay’s Salvage yard with approximately 1,000 vehicles was ignited in the blaze. Loud pops could be heard throughout the area.
A steady stream of resourced poured in from across the region. Firefighters from Montague and Denton counties and Texas and U.S. Forest Services joined the Wise County firefighters battling the blaze on the ground. The Denton County Wildland Task Force, Denton County Structural Task Force and North Tarrant Task Force also responded.
A helicopter and single-engine air tanker assisted from the air, dumping water and fire retardant.
One firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion, and multiple homes were evacuated.
“The biggest thing we need is for everyone to stay out of the area. It is not safe,” Powell said.
Department of Public Safety troopers and Wise County Sheriff’s Office deputies helped secure the scene. Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens also responded.
“They are staged to evacuate livestock if needed,” Powell said.
Melvin Castleberry with the American Red Cross said no shelters were needed as of 5 p.m. Food, drinks and ice was being brought in from a variety of volunteers to Hopewell Baptist Church for firefighters.

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Multiple departments battle massive fire


Fifteen fire departments with help from firefighters from Montague and Denton County departments, Texas and U.S. Forest Services are battling a massive grass fire off County Road 2391 near Alvord.
One firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion, and multiple homes have been evacuated.
“The biggest thing we need is for everyone to stay out of the area. It is not safe,” said Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell.
Powell said a salvage yard in the area is on fire.
“Air assets are on scene,” Powell said.

The Red Cross is providing food for 100 people. They said there is no need for a shelter yet.

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Decatur ISD trustees OK price for bistro


Decatur High School’s bistro will become a reality later this fall.
Decatur ISD trustees approved the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of $423,932 from builders Steele and Freeman Monday for construction of the facility in the high school library.
In the 6-0 vote for moving ahead with the project that’s been discussed for the past several months, trustees acknowledged that there will be additional costs — architectural fees and furniture.
“We are making good progress on the project,” said Decatur ISD School Board President Cheri Boyd. “What we have now, I feel comfortable with. There are other numbers we have to wait on. After we see those, we can go from there.”
Working with district officials and the architect Claycomb Associates, Steele and Freeman cut nearly $250,000 off the estimate of $670,000 given to the board June 18. They were given a goal of $460,000 to get the project under.
George DeJohn of Claycomb said the front counter and condiment counter were changed to cut costs. The district also cut the number of ovens from two to one.
Shelly Laaser, Director of Child Nutrition, said the district will move a freezer from the administration building to the bistro to trim costs.
While trimming the cost, Michael Freeman of Steele and Freeman, said there will be room to add everything that was cut in the future.
“The bistro is needed. We just need to make sure we’re transparent with the numbers,” said trustee Wade Watson. “The $423,932 is not the complete cost.”
Construction on the bistro and delivery and installation of the equipment will not be complete until sometime in the November.
The high school will have a closed campus during lunch in the fall. Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis said Laaser has prepared a schedule with three lunch periods at the high school. The district has increased the seating capacity of the cafeteria to 440 students to help at the start of the year.
In other business, the district hired Shane Conklin as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Conklin is currently Director of Student and Staff Services at Coppell ISD. Conklin previously led the Human Resources Department at Granbury. He also held administrative positions at Northwest, Crowley and White Settlement.
“He has 14 years experience and has been a principal at all levels along with being a director of second education and HR director,” Whitis said. “We’re very excited to have him.”
Conklin is the second assistant superintendent named in the past two weeks. The district elevated Steve White to assistant superintendent for operations.

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Fire destroys home in Chico


Three people were rescued from a house fire Friday afternoon in Chico.

The home was located on Weatherford St. across from the Lowe’s Market. Ubaldo Garcia with the Chico Volunteer Fire Department said a mother, infant and toddler were trapped in the house when they arrived.

“When we got here the house was partially engulfed,” Garcia said. “We tried to make access in the back, and the mother finally located us. We tore the air conditioning unit down and got them out.”

Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell said the fire started around noon. He added the home to the left of the house that caught fire was evacuated as a precaution and crews were inspecting it.

Powell advised residents to avoid the area as crews work to contain the blaze and clean up the scene. He said it could take hours and Weatherford St. would be shut down indefinitely.

Pablo Lara helped rescue the children trapped inside the home. He said he heard yelling and started smashing windows to get them out.

Garcia said it is unclear what started the fire. He said crews were checking nearby structures to ensure they are safe, as the fence of a neighboring structure caught fire.

Firefighters from Chico, Crafton, Bridgeport, Lake Bridgeport and Alvord battled the blaze in temperatures hovering around 97 degrees.

Wise County is currently under a 90-day burn ban and in a severe drought.

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Fire destroys home near Decatur


Fire destroyed a single-story home on County Road 3198 Friday morning southwest of Decatur.
Firefighters from Decatur, Boyd, Bridgeport, Paradise, East Wise and Rhome battled the blaze in the 90-degree heat throughout the morning.
The home was fully involved when firefighters arrived shortly after 10 a.m.
Several outbuildings and vehicles surrounded the home. Decatur Deputy Fire Chief Deroy Bennett said several resources were needed to keep the fire contained.
“There were obviously a lot of exposures around with flammable liquids. I wanted to get as much water on it as possible,” Bennett said.
By 11:30 a.m., Bennett said the forward progression of the fire had been stopped. Firefighters were still battling an active fire, and Bennett said they would be on scene for several hours.
The American Red Cross and Wise County EMS medics were on scene providing rehab to firefighters.
Andrew Kerbel lived in the residence with a roommate. He said nothing was out of the norm when he left for work at AutoZone at 7 a.m.
“There was nothing leading up to it,” Kerbel said.
Kerbel said no one was in the home when the fire started. Three dogs were in the residence and had not been accounted for.
Two vehicles were destroyed, according to Kerbel.
Another man lived in another building on the property and was not harmed in the fire.
“The good news is there is multiple places to live here. I’m not going to be homeless,” Kerbel said.

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Firefighters battle large grass fire north of Bridgeport


By ground and air, local firefighters and personnel from the Texas Forest Service battled a large grass fire off Texas 101 north of Bridgeport Wednesday afternoon.
The fire appeared to originate off Private Road 1525 and quickly moved north through pastures, charring between 100 and 125 acres.
Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long said his department was dispatched to the blaze around 1:30 p.m.
“It started and was about two acres in heavy, heavy fuel,” Long said. “It got in the trees and started setting spot fires out in front of it.”
Firefighters from Bridgeport, Chico, Lake Bridgeport, Paradise and Runaway Bay fought the blaze in brush trucks in the 102-degree heat. The Red Cross and Wise County EMS responded to the scene to provide rehab to firefighters. Local citizens also brought water.
The low humidity of 18 percent and a light breeze helped fuel the flames over the dry vegetation. In the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture, the county was at an average of 721 on a scale ranging from 0 to 800. The top end of the scale represents completely dry conditions. The high in the county is 751.
Texas Forest Service firefighters manned three bulldozers, helping local firefighters on the ground knock down the fire. Texas Forest Service pilots in a helicopter and two single-engine air tankers (SEATs) dumped water and fire retardant on the fire from the air. Another airplane circled the fire to coordinate the other aircraft.
As of 6:30 p.m., only 25 percent had been contained according to Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell.
He added that a few homes were evacuated for a short time, but residents have been allowed to return home.
“Multiple structures were threatened, but none were lost at this point,” Powell said.

Update at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday: Powell reports that the fire is 70 percent contained and has burned around 150 acres.

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Fire destroys Crafton-area home


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Fire destroyed a home on Private Road 1607 off Texas 101 in the Crafton area Saturday afternoon. Multiple departments including Crafton, Chico, Alvord, Sunset and Bridgeport responded to a report of a house on fire in the 300 block of Private Road 1607, north of Chico just before 2 p.m. When the first units arrived, they found a mobile home completely engulfed in flames with a grass fire quickly spreading to other structures. Before firefighters were able to get the blaze under control, fire destroyed several vehicles and other outbuildings on the property. No one was injured. Firefighters battled the blaze in temperatures of around 107 degrees. Wise County EMS provided a cooling station for firefighters, and Red Cross was on the scene to provide bottled water to the firefighters and to assist the home’s occupant.

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Barn, truck burn in grass fire on Sunflower Road


A barn and truck were lost in a blaze that also burned approximately an acre at 2131 Sunflower Road Thursday morning near Paradise.
Paradise, Cottondale, Boonsville and Bridgeport firefighters battled the fire that was reported around 11 a.m.
“When we got on scene, there was a fully involved shed and vehicle,” said Captain Dakota Richardson of the Paradise Volunteer Fire Department.
“It wasn’t actively moving anywhere. There was a lot of short grass. They were able to knock it down and stop the core progression.”
Richardson expected firefighters to be on scene for several hours performing extensive overhaul in the heat.
An excessive heat warning is in place in the county with temperatures expected to be above 105 this afternoon.
“They are sending three departments to every grass fire call specifically because of the heat and the conditions we are under,” Richardson said.
The National Weather Service also issued a fire danger statement Thursday morning warning of elevated fire risk as winds were expected to increase to 10 to 15 mph along with the extreme heat and relative humidity levels under 20 percent.
In the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture, the county is at an average of 690, the highest in the state, on a scale ranging from 0 to 800. The top end of the scale represents completely dry conditions. Much of the county is above 700 with the high of 727.
Cody Powell, Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator, said the heat is the biggest worry today.
“Along with the dryness, wind and relative humidity, the X factor is the heat,” Powell said. “In 110 degree heat, it doesn’t take long to tax guys. A lot of the guys were out fighting fires yesterday. If something big happens, it’ll deplete resources quickly.”
A 90-day burn ban is in place.

 

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Fire risk increases in Wise County


Excessive heat, dry vegetation, low humidity and the addition of winds picking up today are expected to create dangerous fire conditions in Wise County.
The National Weather Service issued a fire danger statement Thursday morning for Wise and several surrounding counties with high temperatures expected to range between 105 and 110, relative humidity between 10 and 20 percent and winds between 10 and 15 mph.
Paradise and Cottondale firefighters are battling a barn, vehicle and grass fire on Sunflower Road.
In the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture, the county is at an average of 690, the highest in the state, on a scale ranging from 0 to 800. The top end of the scale represents completely dry conditions. Much of the county is above 700 with the high of 727.
Cody Powell, Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator, said the heat is the biggest worry today. An excessive heat warning is effect for today and Friday with temperatures exceeding 105. It’s the first time since August 2011 that the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for North Central Texas.
“Along with the dryness, wind and relative humidity, the X factor is the heat,” Powell said. “In 110 degree heat, it doesn’t take long to tax guys. A lot of the guys were out fighting fires yesterday. If something big happens, it’ll deplete resources quickly.”
Several departments battled a large grass fire between Alvord and Decatur Wednesday afternoon.
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is dispatching three departments on the initial response to any fires and putting the next nearest station on standby. Powell said Wise County EMS is stocked and ready to perform rehab at any fires.
Powell suggested residents consider dropping off cases of water and sports drinks at fire stations to help.
“The biggest thing citizens can do is stop by and drop off a case of water or [sports drinks],” he said. “They are almost all volunteers and they are the ones keeping the county from burning.”
A 90-day burn ban is effect and the Sheriff’s Office is issuing citations for violations.

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Gas leak forces evacuations in Lipsey Addition


Eight homes along Garland and Murvil streets in the Lipsey Addition in Decatur were evacuated for more than two hours Wednesday evening as a precaution due to a propane tank leak.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes around 8:30 p.m. after Decatur firefighters gave the all clear.
The relief valve on a propane tank in the 3100 block of South Murvil released shortly after 5:30 p.m. A neighbor reported what sounded like an explosion.
“It was venting so hard that it was blowing the leaves off the trees,” said Decatur Deputy Fire Chief Deroy Bennett said.
Bennett said the heat, the temperature reached 105 in Decatur Wednesday, likely caused the valve to release. The aged valve on the tank would not reset.
“We did several things to cool it off,” Bennett said. “We had the tank hauled off.”
The propane company that serviced the tank estimated that it could have needed a couple of days to vent. Given that timeline, the choice was made to remove it.
The tank vented about 60 gallons.
“There was just enough breeze that it never collected,” Bennett said.
Bennett said they used sensors to check the entire area before giving the OK to allow residents back in.

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Excessive heat warning issued for county


The heat is on and it will continue.
As temperatures hit 105 at Decatur Municipal Airport Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued an “excessive heat warning” for Wise County and the rest of North Central Texas for Thursday and Friday. Temperatures are expected to hit 107 and 108 Thursday and Friday.
“Excessive heat warnings are issued when we expect temperatures to reach 105 or the heat index over 110,” said Juan Hernandez, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Forth Worth. “Temperatures will exceed 105 or above through weekend. They are not that common. The last time we issued an excessive heat warning was August 2011.”
The extreme heat is being caused by a ridge of high pressure centered over New Mexico, Hernandez said.
The heat is exacerbating severe drought conditions already in place in the county.
In the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture, the county is at an average of 684 on a scale ranging from 0 to 800. The top end of the scale represents completely dry conditions. Much of the county is above 700 with the high of 727.
Several fire departments battled a grass fires on Private Road 1272 in the extreme heat across the county as humidity levels dipped under 20 percent.
Hernandez said the calm winds were preventing a fire weather warning.
“With the heat and lack of rain everything is drying out. We expect an uptick in the fires this weekend,” he said.
Wise County has a 90-day burn ban in place.
Temperatures are finally expected to dip below the triple digits next week as the high pressure system moves to the west, Hernandez said.

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Decatur ISD names new board officers


A month after splitting on the vote to keep superintendent Judi Whitis, Decatur ISD school board has a new slate of officers.
Decatur ISD trustees named Cheri Boyd the new school board president Monday after reorganizing officers. Trustees appointed Rex Hoskins vice president and Jennifer Wren board secretary.
All three appointments had a 5-2 vote with previous president Wade Watson and vice president Matt Joiner casting dissenting votes.
Wren called for the reorganization to be put on the agenda after June’s 4-3 decision to keep Whitis. Watson, Joiner and Marsha Hafer voted against the move.
“I felt like we needed to start with a slate of officers that wanted to work with Dr. Whitis to improve the district,” Wren said. “After the last meeting, I was worried with the officers that we had they would not be willing to communicate with her effectively to improve Decatur ISD.”
Boyd, who was elected to the board in May 2016, takes over as president. Last month, she read the statement voicing the majority support for Whitis.
“I just hope to do a good job and assist the board in supporting Dr. Whitis in moving forward to be a successful and effective superintendent,” Boyd said.
“[The change] is reflective of the vote last month. Hopefully moving forward it will be a smooth transition to be supportive of Dr. Whitis and the district.”
After the meeting, Watson said he welcomed Boyd as the new board president.
“The board voted and I will respect the vote,” Watson said. “I will remain a board member.
“The new slate of officers agree with the direction the district is heading.”
Watson pointed out that his vote last month showed he obviously did not.
Before a pair of long closed sessions in June to evaluate Whitis and discuss her contract, Watson sent Whitis a two-page letter detailing “multiple concerns [that] have been brought to the attention of several [board] members recently.”
Last week after the agenda for the meeting was posted with the reorganization of officers, Watson mentioned concerns about communication. He reiterated that Monday after the meeting.
“Communication has not improved. Communication is still lacking between the superintendent and the board after our split vote,” Watson said.
Boyd disagreed when asked about communication.
“That’s not a problem on my part. When I’ve asked questions of Dr. Whitis, it’s never been a problem,” Boyd said. “She’s always been accessible.”

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1 killed in plane crash near New Fairview


An 86-year-old man was killed when his single-engine aircraft crashed in a field north of Farm Road 407 near Fairview Airport Thursday afternoon, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Lonny Haschel.

Haschel said the the pilot was the sole occupant of the plane, described as a 1936 Rose Parakeet, fixed wing aircraft.

James Edwards, a New Fairview resident who lives just outside where the plane crashed, said he witnessed the plane take off, but didn’t see what caused the crash.

“I watched him take off and turn back around,” Edwards said. “It took off loud and instantly, no sound.”

Haschel said it is unknown at this time was caused the plane to go down. He added the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Traffic Safety Board have been notified and will be conducting an investigation.

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County issues 90-day burn ban


Wise County commissioners Tuesday approved a full, 90-day burn ban, effective immediately.
The action was taken at the recommendation of the county fire marshal’s office.
All outdoor burning is prohibited. Violating the ban is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by a fine up to $500.
Sheriff Lane Akin said his officers will have a zero tolerance policy when investigating burn ban violations.
The previous 90-day ban was effective only on Red Flag days or high fire danger days as designated by the National Weather Service.
“A lot of times that works, but we just need a flat out ban,” said County Judge J.D. Clark. “Despite what some people would like to say and promote, our burn ban, when it says no spark or flame outdoors, includes fireworks. And that will stand up in court I’m sure, if it’s challenged.”
Under the new burn ban, there are specific rules for outdoor cooking and welding. Go to www.co.wise.tx.us and click on the Burn Ban link at the top of the page for those guidelines.
“We urge all residents of Wise County to help us during this time,” Fire Marshal Jeff Doughty said in a press release. “For our residents in rural areas, we strongly suggest you make sure to keep an area of about 30 feet mowed around your home and out buildings to prevent a fire from reaching your structures. We encourage all Wise County residents to be safe.”

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Wreck sends 3 to hospital


A rollover wreck on Texas 114 in Rhome sent three people to the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Rhome police and fire rescue responded to a call around 2 p.m. that a Chevrolet pickup had overturned. Rhome officer Bryan Pickler said the truck hydroplaned and flipped after taking the on-ramp to 114 too fast.

The driver and two passengers were transported to Wise Health System with non-life threatening injuries.

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High-speed chase ends in Fort Worth


A chase involving two stolen vehicles ended in Fort Worth around 6:30 a.m. Monday morning, according to Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 5:43 a.m. that a car had wrecked on U.S. 81/287 north of Alvord. Akin said that vehicle was stolen out of Bowie.

The driver fled the vehicle, stole an Atmos Energy truck and struck a tractor-trailer north of Farm Road 407. An officer with the Rhome Police Department began pursuing the truck as it crossed the Denton and Tarrant County lines.

The truck merged onto south Interstate 35 before finally wrecking out at Pharr Street in Fort Worth — over 60 miles from where the chase began. Akin said the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was transported to a local hospital.

Officers from Rhome and Fort Worth, as well as Department of Public Safety troopers and Sheriff’s deputies responded to the chase.

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Elderly Lake Bridgeport man shot and killed over fireworks


Update: 4:30 p.m. Sunday

An elderly Lake Bridgeport man was shot and killed Saturday night after getting into an argument over fireworks, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin confirmed.

Akin said the Wise County Sheriff’s Office received a call about 10:25 p.m. regarding a shooting incident near Church Street.

Akin said the man, identified as 80-year-old Edward Cordero, came outside because a large group of people were igniting fireworks. The conversation soon turned argumentative, and Cordero told the group he was going to get his gun. A 33-year-old in the group also retrieved a firearm.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, Cordero reportedly fired the first shot. The 33-year-old then returned fire and struck Cordero in the head.

AirEvac was requested, and Cordero was flown to JPS in Fort Worth. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Sheriff’s Office deputies, criminal investigators and crime scene investigators remained on scene until 3 a.m. Sunday morning. No charges have been filed, but Akin said the Sheriff’s Office will be conferring with the District Attorney and the case may be referred to the grand jury.

He added charges may be filed in the near future.

Akin confirmed the City of Lake Bridgeport banned fireworks.

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Sheriff’s Office to issue citations for burn ban violations


With a burn ban still in place due to an elevated fire risk, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said his department is no longer issuing warnings for violations.
Between June 29 and 7 a.m. Thursday morning, Wise County fire departments responded to 74 calls for fires and fought 32 fires. The county received 259 fireworks violations calls.
On the evening of July 4th, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received 150 calls about fireworks. The office had 212 total calls on Wednesday.
The volume of calls overwhelmed the department’s 15 phone lines and the four dispatchers, according to Sheriff Lane Akin. The 911 system remained up and running.
“We have 15 ports coming in and the four dispatchers we had on [Wednesday] night couldn’t keep up because of the number of calls,” Akin said. “With all 15 filled, there were some people on hold that were dropped. We had some complaints from people saying they were hung up on, but that was not the case. The system dropped them. We’re trying to upgrade the call system.”
Due to the number of calls, Akin advised his patrol commanders Thursday to start writing citations for any burn ban violations, including fireworks.
“It was my position to warn people and seek compliance,” Akin said. “But the warnings are over.”
The fine for a violation of the burn ban is up to $500. A fire that damages property belonging to another property owner is also punishable with by a $500 fine and court ordered restitution. Outdoor burning that results in death, injury, or damages a building belonging to another may result in two years in state jail, a fine up to $10,000 and court ordered restitution. There may also be additional criminal and civil liability.
Of the 32 fires that firefighters fought in the last week, Wise County Fire Marshal Jeff Doughty said most were small. The largest was the 10-acre blaze Sunday at County Road 4790 and Hamm Road south of Keeter started by a burn pit.
“I can’t say enough about the awesome work of [the fire departments],” Doughty said. “Most had around the clock staffing at the stations during peak times. Trucks were responding instantaneously to calls.”
Currently, the burn ban is on days the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth issues a Red Flag warning or designates as a “high risk or elevated fire risk” day. An elevated fire risk has been present in the county for the past week due to temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, lower humidity and steady winds above 10 mph.
Most of the county is in severe drought according to the latest update from the USDA Thursday. In the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture, the county was at an average of 643 Thursday. The high in the county was 694. The index goes to 800, which represents completely dry conditions.
As conditions worsen this summer, Doughty said he will be visiting with Wise County Commissioners about issuing a new burn ban.

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Aurora issues declaration banning fireworks, burning


The city of Aurora banned fireworks and outdoor burning within its city limits Tuesday.
Mayor Terry Solomon issued a local disaster declaration related to the risk of wildfire.
Along with the ban, the city issued a warning that residents could face fines between $500 and $1,000 for violations. The declaration prohibits fireworks for 60 hours and outdoor burning for up to seven days.
The city contracts with four deputies from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office for 32 hours per week of police coverage and patrol.
Most Wise County cities prohibit fireworks. New Fairview previously posted a ban of fireworks due to drought.
According to the National Weather Service office in Forth Worth, there was an elevated fire risk Tuesday with temperatures expected to reach triple digits. The elevated risk is expected to persist through Wednesday, the Fourth of July.
With the elevated fire risk, Wise County also has a burn ban in place. A violation of the ban is punishable by a $500 fine. A fire that damages property belonging to another property owner is also punishable with by a $500 fine and court ordered restitution. Outdoor burning that results in death, injury, or damages a building belonging to another may result in two years in state jail, a fine up to $10,000 and court ordered restitution. There may also be additional criminal and civil liability.
In Tuesday’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture, the county was at an average of 631. The high in the county was 686. The index goes to 800, which represents completely dry conditions.

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