Grass and woods fires keep firefighters busy Sunday

Two grass fires burned dozens of acres in Tarkington on Sunday.

Firefighters from multiple agencies in Liberty County were dispatched just afternoon Sunday to a wooded area off of CR 301 North in Tarkington. Two blazes – a 22.7-acre fire and a 35-acre fire – destroyed a couple of deer stands and two hunting lean-tos, but no homes were threatened.

By 6 p.m., firefighters had both fires 100 percent contained and were monitoring the fires to make sure they did not flare up again and spread, according to Chief Paul Gregory with Tarkington Volunteer Fire Department. One firefighter received minor injuries and was treated on the scene.

Even though the fires were close to each other, Gregory does not believe that burning embers from one fire caused the other.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Liberty County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Texas Forest Services, Gregory said, but it’s likely that any evidence about the origins of the fire was likely destroyed.

Gregory said firefighting this time of the year is problematic as the soil is still wet but the surface grass and brush is dry from recent freezes. This makes it hard for firefighters to access fires at times.

“People have been asking about a burn ban. The County usually goes by the KDBI (Keetch-Byram Drought Index) to determine if conditions exist to warrant a burn ban. Usually a burn ban kicks in when the KDBI is 500. Currently it’s 200 in Liberty County,” Gregory said. “We really just need people to be careful when setting a fire right now. They can quickly get out of control. It’s that time of the year.”

Firefighters representing Tarkington, Cleveland, HWY 321, Kenefick and Dayton responded to the fires in Tarkington. Gregory said Plum Grove firefighters were on a grass fire call at the same time.

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