Fire Marshall Dwayne Griffin and members of the Somervell County Fire Department spent part of their Tuesday morning putting out a brush fire that broke out in a hayfield behind the Somervell County Sheriff's Office.
The fire ignited when someone who had been shredding brush started to burn it, then left it unattended, Griffin said. Wind fanned the flames and the fire department had to call out several brush trucks and a water tanker to douse the fire.
“If they hadn't gotten here in about five minutes, those houses up there could have been endangered,” Griffin said, pointing to homes in the Tuscan Village neighborhood.
Less than acre of the field burned, but Griffin reminded residents to stay on alert about fires, especially around the July 4th holiday when people will be shooting off fireworks.
“Be very careful and watch what you do and make sure you have plenty of water around,” Griffin said.
The fire department in recent days and weeks has responded to several spot fires. Grass may look green, but there's dry grass beneath it and other dry fuel on the ground, Griffin said.
The county's burn ban has not been reinstated, but the Keetch-Byram Drought Index used by fire departments and the Texas Forest Service to determine forest fire potential has been climbing in recent weeks. The index ranges from 0 to 800. Somervell County's average currently is 545.