KETR Local
5:32 pm
Thu July 16, 2009

Grass fire destroys 15 acres near Commerce


Commerce – What started out as a one acre grass fire quickly turned into 15 just north of Commerce Thursday afternoon.

There were no reports of any injuries or structure damage, as no homes were threatened during the fire. It took fire crews from Commerce, Klondike and Wolfe City about an hour and a half to control the blaze, which occurred just off of Highway 11 on FM 4514.

A spark from worn hay bailing equipment apparently caused the fire, according to Commerce Fire Chief Brian McNevin.

"Every now and then if a part starts getting worn it throws a spark," says McNevin. "He had some kind of worn part and the hay bailing equipment threw a spark and because the hay was on the ground cut and dry it just lit up like a tinder box."

The fire is just another example of why residents don't need to burn, says McNevin.

"Although there's not a burn ban, it is strongly advised that people do not burn outside because it is very dry."

It reportedly took only a matter of minutes for the fire, which was initially condensed to one acre, to race across the field.

The Northeast Texas region has been hit hard by drought the last several weeks, with triple digit temperatures and little precipitation.

In a related story, Texas Governor Rick Perry last night issued a fire hazard proclamation for 167 Texas counties, including all counties in the listening region.

The proclamation certifies there's an extreme fire hazard that poses a threat of imminent disaster in several counties. Counties include Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, Fannin, Lamar, Collin, Rains, Rockwall, Kaufman, Van Zandt and Dallas.

Residents of these counties are encouraged to take the proper precautions necessary, such as avoiding burning outdoors.

While no area counties are currently under burn bans, Hunt County Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Hill said Thursday he was considering asking the commissioners court to implement the ban. That could be a comment trend over the next several days and weeks from elsewhere throughout the region.