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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