Firefighters with the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department and Big Spring Fire Department spent much of Monday battling a blaze in the southeast portion of the county that destroyed at least 2,300 acres and several structures.
Firefighters responded to the Tubbs Addition — located approximately a mile south of Big Spring on U.S. Highway 87 — around 1 p.m. after a wildfire was reported in the area.
According to fire officials, the blaze is believed to have begun when a power line failed, with sparks spawning a fire that quickly grew into several large fires that threatened a number of structures in the area.
Fire departments from Glasscock, Martin and Regan counties also assisted in fighting the blazes, as well as the Texas Forest Service's air support, all of which HCVFD Chief Tommy Sullivan credited for helping keep the fire from spreading further than it did.
“We were very fortunate to receive as much assistance as we did,” an obviously exhausted Sullivan said Tuesday morning. “We had several local contractors show up with their heavy equipment, as well as water trucks from the oilfield, all of which helped out tremendously.
“We lost seven structures in the fire, all of which were currently uninhabited. Some were houses, some were old, dilapidated trailer houses.”
Sullivan said no injuries were reported as a direct result of the fire, but a traffic accident involving two fire vehicles did land one firefighter in the emergency room.
“There was a traffic accident involving a fire truck from Lenorah and a HCVFD vehicle near the intersection of Boatler and Ratliff,” he said. “There were two firefighters on the back of the Lenorah truck, so it could have been mich worse. We had one of the guys involved in the accident taken to the emergency room, where performed some scans to make sure he was OK.”
As of Tuesday morning, Sullivan said the fire was 100 percent contained and approximately 85 percent extinguished. However, it will likely be Wednesday or Thursday before the last remnants of the fire are extinguished.
“The fire itself was 3.5 miles wide and three-quarters of a mile wide, and a lot of that is down in areas where we're having a hard time getting the trucks to,” Sullivan said. “I expect it will take another day-and-a-half before we'll be able to have it 100 percent extinguished. However, it's not currently threatening any more structures or homes, so we're pretty satisfied with that.”