Lightning sparks two fires in county

Even when it rains, area firefighters can't catch a break.Lightning strikes are being blamed as the causes for a pair of wildfires that kept Howard County volunteer firefighters busy Sunday and Monday.The first incident occurred at around 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening, when lightning sparked a grass fire along Elbow Creek Road near Lomax.Tommy Sullivan, chief of the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, said nine units — seven from his department and two from Glasscock County — battled the blaze for about four hours before it was extinguished.About 75 acres were scorched in the fire, but no injuries or structure damage was reported.“Early on, there was some concern that the fire might get to some homes and other structures, but our guys did a good job of shutting it down,” Sullivan said.The second fire started about 7 a.m. Monday when lightning struck an oilfield tank battery along E. Howard Field Road, causing an explosion.Four HCVFD units responded to the fire, which was brought under control in less than an hour, Sullivan said.The battery was heavily damaged by the lightning strike, but no injuries were reported.