Sparks from a vehicle’s chains ignited a grass fire in Milam County, where an outdoor burn ban is now in place.
Morgan’s Point Resort firefighters and other agencies also responded to two fires in Bell County.
The Milam County fire along FM 908 had several points of origin in the area north of Rockdale, prompting help from other fire departments and the Texas Forestry Service, Rockdale Fire Chief Ward Roddam said on Facebook.
An 18-wheeler without a trailer that dragged its chains down the road created sparks that quickly spread in the drought conditions, Roddam said. Dry grass and brush served as a fuel source for the sparks.
Assisting the Rockdale Volunteer Fire Department were volunteer fire departments from Cameron, Milano, Thorndale and Minerva, as well as the Milam County Sheriff’s office with its drone and AMR for medical support and firefighter rehabilitation from the intense heat caused by both weather and the fires.
The Texas Forestry Service helped with a crew to fight the fire, a dozer and a water drop air ship.
According to the Keetch-Byrum Drought Index for Tuesday, the average index for Milam County is 606, with a minimum index of 568 and a maximum of 640.
An index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions.
The Central Texas area was under a heat advisory until 8 p.m. Tuesday. With temperatures in the upper 90s to about 104 degrees, heat indexes were expected to range from 105 to 110 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Anyone with a description of the 18-wheeler is asked to please notify the Rockdale Volunteer Fire Department.
Multiple agencies battle Bell fires
A vegetation fire at about 3:30 p.m. Friday off Buckhorn Cemetery Road began in debris piles that led to a large grass and brush fire, according to the Morgan’s Point Resort Fire Department.
Firefighters from Moffat and Temple Fire & Rescue responded. The fire spread quickly and extended into the tree line with 12- to 15-foot flames. Smoke was visible for miles.
A home close to the fire was spared by the quick work of the firefighters. No one was injured.
Firefighters were called out again at 11 p.m. to a house fire in the 4200 block of Mulberry Drive.
The fire was called “stubborn,” and adding to the difficulty of fighting it were a rural water supply, tight streets and poor lighting. The second fire of the day exhausted firefighters, who deal with heat stress.
Two structures were a total loss but no one was injured. Firefighters left the scene just after 3 a.m.
Bell County is one of the few in the Central Texas area not under a burn ban. The average index is 587, but numbers ranged from a low of 453 to a high of 645.