A wildfire reported Sunday morning in the Silver Heels area torched an estimated 35 acres and destroyed a shed before firefighters were able to douse the flames, according to Howard County Volunteer Fire Department officials.
The fire was reported in the area between Driver Road and Chaparral Road at approximately 10:30 a.m., according to HCVFD Chief Tommy Sullivan.
“We lost a shed and a water well, but none of the homes that were threatened sustained any damage,” Sullivan said. “We worked on the fire from 10:30 a.m. until about 7 p.m. We were really fortunate because the damage could have been much worse. However, we were able to stop it near the intersection of Driver Road and U.S. Highway 87, close to Thrill Hill.”
Sullivan said high winds Sunday afternoon made the fire especially hard to deal with.
“Winds were gusting around 31 mph while we were fighting the fire, so we were dealing with some pretty big flames coming at us,” Sullivan said. “The wind was coming out of the southwest and moving toward the northeast.”
The large flames contributed to a pair of injuries while fighting the fire, Sullivan said, but neither were serious.
“We had two firefighters suffer some minor burns,” Sullivan said. “They are doing fine now. The injuries weren't serious. We were really fortunate Sunday because the injuries — and the loss of property — could have been much more serious.”
Residents near the fire were evacuated for approximately two hours as a precautionary measure, Sullivan said.
“With high winds, these kinds of fires can be very unpredictable,” he said. “So we evacuated the residents in the effected area for about two, maybe two-and-a-half hours.”
As for the cause of the blaze, Sullivan said the Texas Forest Service is currently investigating.
“We haven't received a formal cause from the forest service, but it's pretty likely it was an electrical short,” Sullivan said. “Those have been our biggest problem this year. Electrical shorts from downed power lines and other outdoor equipment is our leading cause this season.”