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A wildfire swept through northeast Big Spring Sunday afternoon, and while the blaze managed to scorch between 300 and 400 acres of scrubland and came dangerously close to a number of homes, no structures were lost, according to local firefighting officials.
Firefighters with the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, assisted by the Big Spring Fire Department, Howard County and the City of Big Spring responded to the fire shortly after noon Sunday at an area northeast of the intersection of FM 700 and Interstate Highway 20.
According to Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan, portions of FM 700, Oasis Road, S. Anderson Road and other nearby roadways had to be shut down during the day because of the fire.
â€śFirefighters responded to the fire just after noon and had it more than 90 percent contained by midnight,â€ť Sullivan said. â€śThe weather really played havoc with firefighting efforts throughout the day. There were microbursts and high winds pushing the fire in all sorts of directions, so we had to shut down several different roadways in that area throughout Sunday to protect motorists from becoming stranded.â€ť
Sullivan said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
â€śWe had several downed power lines in the area, plus, there is the railroad nearby,â€ť Sullivan said. â€śAlso, there area a number of quadrunner four wheelers that have been seen in that area and if they are operating without spark arresters, they can blow large chunks of hot carbon out. We're going to have to look closely at the fire's timeline before we're going to be able to determine the cause of the fire.â€ť
Sullivan said no structures were lost as a result of the fire, however, there were plenty of homes in danger as a result of the blaze.
â€śThere are plenty of homes and structures along that stretch of FM 700. The closest the fire got to a structure was 50 yards,â€ť Sullivan said. â€śThat was near a home on Marlyn Drive, off of Neil Road. There were plenty of homes that were in a high exposure situation, however, the firefighters performed very well. We have a super crew and they did their job. A lot of homes could have been lost, but they did an excellent job Sunday.â€ť
Sullivan said no injuries were reported as a result of the fire.
Heavy equipment â€” mostly maintainers and bulldozers â€” were provided by the city of Big Spring and Howard County.
Sullivan said Sunday's fire should serve as a reminder to local residents that while the Crossroads area has received a substantial amount of rain in the past month, wildfire risks are still very much a concern.
â€śThings have gotten a bit better and gotten a bit greener, but the need for us to be aware of our surroundings and to be careful is just as vital now as it has ever been,â€ť Sullivan said. â€śCitizen vigilance is vital in keeping the number of wildfires down.â€ť