Wise County Messenger

Fire prompts evacuations near LBJ grasslandsFree Access

Strong winds damage home, trees in Runaway Bay

Fire consumed 300 acres Wednesday evening north of Decatur off of Old Decatur Road.

Around 30 homes were evacuated from a large grassfire in the area of Old Decatur Road and County Road 2372 near the LBJ Grasslands Wednesday.

The fire north of Decatur consumed 300 acres.

The rapid southward progression of the fire was halted after 20 acres of back burns at FS 942 contained the blaze.

“It helped,” said Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell. “They reported back to me a few times during the back burn that it was working.”

Approximately 50 total structures were threatened by the fire. Evacuation orders were lifted at 8 p.m. Fire operations are expected to continue for several more hours.

Wildlife looked for refuge after a grassfire torched 300 acres in the area of the LBJ Grasslands near Old Decatur Road and County Road 2372.

Old Decatur Road from County Road 2475 to County Road 2175 was closed down but has since been reopened.

The fire on Old Decatur Road, in addition to several other grassfires in Wise County, occurred as a severe thunderstorm moved into Wise County.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning in southwestern portions of Wise County until 6:45 p.m.

Wind gusts up to 65 mph and hail up to .88 inches are possible.

In Runaway Bay, there was widespread damage to trees and at least one residence. There were also reports of damage in the Crafton area near County Road 1770.

One home was damaged along Runaway Bay drive, and the storm damaged a large amount trees in the area, including at RB Golf Club & Resort.

For the most part, power has been restored to the Runaway Bay area as of 9:30 p.m., said Oncor Area Manager Sabrina Easley. Around 700 customers were without power initially.

“There are a few locations that were too damaged to restore power until repairs could be made,” Easley said. “Crews are finishing up with the remaining restoration now in both Runaway Bay and Balsora (for four customers).”

Strong winds damaged a home along Runaway Bay Drive in Runaway Bay Wednesday.

Crews from Bridgeport returned to the 500 acre fire on County Road 1658 west of Bridgeport that started Tuesday after the fire rekindled Wednesday afternoon. The fire was within previously burned areas as humidity levels dropped.

“All fire was contained within the black,” said Bridgeport Fire Chief Travis Nokes. “It was weather-driven and 100 percent expected.”

The fire near the Bridgeport OHV park was contained Tuesday to fire lines to the north and south along FM 1658 and Pioneer. The fire reached east to portions of the Endeavor Bridgeport Adventure Park, but is contained to the west at Private Road 1514.

Wise County firefighters and emergency personnel have been dispatched to more than a dozen fires, working to contain the spread from spiraling to thousands of acres, as seen in other portions of North Texas.

Counting Every Blessing Ministry, a disaster response team, has fed first responders on scene as crews battled fires for several hours this week. The non-profit provides aid to first responders and victims during natural disasters.

“It’s the third time this week they have showed up,” said Powell. “They are helping us.”


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