County Firefighters Battle A Dozen Grass, Pasture Fires Over Nov. 23-24 Weekend
Fire Chief Urges Use Of Safety Precautions Before, During Outdoor Burning
County firefighters spent several hours on both Saturday and Sunday responding to a dozen grass and hay pasture fires most in the southern end of Hopkins County. Several of the fires reportedly originated from blazes in a burn barrels or other controlled burns, according to fire reports.
The situation was hampered by muddy ground and dead grass and other vegetation. More than one brush truck has become struck in the soft soil while responding to grass and hay meadow fires, which require additional resources, including precinct crews with equipment such as backhoes, to fully extinguish and prevent continued spread of the fire.
Weekend calls included:
Saturday, Nov. 23
- Yard fire reported on FM 2560 at 12:01 pm.;
- Grass fire reported on FM 1567 at County Road 2328 at 1:57 p.m.; and
- Grass fire reported on County Road 2174 at 2:41 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24
- Hay meadow fire reported on County Road 2310 at 12:08 p.m.;
- Grass fire reported on County Road 2381 at 12:25 p.m.;
- Grass fires reported from 12:25 p.m. to 12:35 p.m. in at least four different location on FM 1567, including at FM 2297, County Road 1180 and State Highway 154;
- Grass fire on County Road 3511 at 1:09 p.m;
- Pasture fire with hay bales involved reported on County Road 2174 at 2:57 p.m.; and
- Hay pasture fire on State Highway 19 south at 4:10 p.m.
Outdoor Fire Safety Reminders
Thus, Hopkins County Fire Chief Andy Endsley urges those considering conducting outdoor burns to take a few safety precautions to prevent spread of fire beyond the intended area.
Endsley asks that any who burn make sure there is a water supply sufficient to quickly extinguish the fire. He noted that while the rain made the soil moist, the vegetation on top is still dry and dead, a ready source to feed the blaze quickly across a larger area than intended. Even having several 5-gallon and 10-gallon buckets filled with water at the ready in case a fire needs to be doused quickly can be helpful, the fire chief noted.
Fires should not be conducted in a garage or covered area, even if in a barrel or grill, to prevent a spark from blowing onto and burning of a structure, vehicle or other property. Place burn barrels, brush fire and grills away from buildings and covering.
Wind speeds should also be considered before a fire is sparked, the county fire marshal reminds. If there is any appreciable wind detected, it’s better to refrain from burning, as such conditions often lead to rapid spread of grass, wild land and hay meadow fires and can even burn to nearby equipment, vehicles and structures.
When burning in a barrel, placing a grill or grate over it can help temp down fires and reduce the number of sparks blowing out and igniting elsewhere. If burning on the ground, do so in a fire ring or dig a fire break around it, providing an area without vegetation, to keep any fire that might start from spreading, the county fire marshal’s office recommends.
HCFD Chief Andy Endsley asks planning to conduct a large fire are asked to contact the county fire department at 903-439-6217; the on-duty staff can contact the volunteer department for the area to notify them of the blaze, and for really large scale fires, potentially have them stand by with resources as a precaution.
“A lot will offer this for just a donation,” Endsley said.
Those conducting open burns may also contact Hopkins County sheriff’s office dispatchers to notify them prior to burning, so they’ll have a record of That also provides a record of it in case it’s reported by someone else; the communications operators can contact the responsible person to verify all is still within control without having to tie up firefighters, who may be needed on another call.