PARKER COUNTY, Texas — Crews in Parker County said a large grass fire between Weatherford and Springtown has been contained.
The fire is happening near FM 51 and Veal Station Road, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth. The fire has burned about 175 acres and was 50% contained as of Wednesday evening.
The Texas A&M Forest Service assisted and named the fire the Sandlin Hill Fire.
Steve Tettleton had two things on his mind as a plume of smoke was rising just a mile from his Springtown property.
“My family and my horses,” he said.
He sprung into action, calling neighbors, moving his horses, helping neighbors move their cattle.
He says neighbor Taylor Christian should be hailed a hero.
“He’s out there right now in the thick of it, with a dozer trying to break fire lines,” he said, crediting Christian with getting a head start on keeping the flames under control.
Adam Turner, wildland urban interface specialist with the forest service, said the reason the fire didn’t spread further was the quick response from volunteer and paid local fire departments.
“Our fuel conditions are at historic levels right now. We are reaching dryness levels that last were reached in 2011. We are reaching record temperatures,” Turner said.
He said 90% of wildfires are caused by humans and all of North Texas is a tinderbox.
“The biggest thing a local resident can do is be careful,” he said. Don’t burn anything. Don’t shoot fireworks. Be careful with grilling, and be sure nothing is dragging and causing a spark from your vehicle.
Clouds began to roll in as evening wore on, while firefighters kept an eye on hot spots and flare ups.
Lightning could be seen in the distance.
Turner welcomed the rain – a small chance of which remains in the forecast on Thursday.
But he worried about what might come with it.
“We’ve got everything crossed, but there’s a lot of lightning out there too. Lightning without a good inch of rain is liable to start wildfires,” Turner said.
Wind can also cause a fire to turn or spread in any direction.
“It’s Texas. Weather can change in five minutes. But I pray to God [rain] takes care of this for other people and their families, as well as the livestock,” Tettleton said.
Then he hurried back to his truck to deliver cold water to his neighbor and other firefighters.