Yesterday Howard County Volunteer Fire Department and the Big Spring Fire Department responded to a large and massive fire that burned in the area.
The first fire began south of town on Ratliff Rd at approximately 12: 40 PM. The fire quickly spread north over to Callahan, West of Boatler and behind houses on Hack Valley. Many neighboring units, Texas A&M Forrest Service, and Howard County Road and Bridge Department responded to the area to assist with resources. According to Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Pepper Sullivan, it was confirmed that there were 4, possibly 5, structures that were lost, as well as over 300 acres that had been burned. There was also a report of a couple people suffering from heat exhaustion as a result of the fire.
At approximately 6 PM yesterday evening it was noted that the fire was at 99 percent containment, and Sullivan stated that the Howard County Volunteer Fire Fighters would be continuing to put out hot spots for the next couple of days. At this time, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
At approximately 3 PM yesterday, the Big Spring Police Department and Big Spring Fire/EMS were dispatched to the area of Martin Luther King Blvd and West FM 700 due to a large grass fire. Upon arrival it was found that the origin of the fire started on the south side of FM 700 near Mesa Street and crossed FM 700 just west of the Knollwood Heights Apartments on Martin Luther King Blvd. The fire continued moving in a north eastern direction.
Big Spring Police officers and Big Spring Fire/EMS personnel diverted their attention to the area of Peach and Grant off of Old Hwy 80 and to the west side of the Knollwood Heights Apartments in an attempt to protect life and property. The Howard County Emergency Management had already called for additional resources through the Texas Department of Emergency Management due to the Ratliff Rd. fire that had already been in progress. As resources began arriving at the Ratliff Rd. fire and no longer needed they were diverted to the fire at Martin Luther King and W. FM 700. City of Big Spring Emergency Management coordinated with the Big Spring Fire Department for the additional resources through the Howard County Emergency Management and the Texas Department of Emergency Management. The following agencies responded to assist with this fire as a result of the Texas Department of Emergency Management; City of Midland Fire Department, Midland County Fire Department, Glasscock County Fire Department and Texas A&M Forrest Service. The Big Spring Fire Department and Big Spring Police Department also had the assistance of the Big Spring Police Department Animal Control Division, Detectives Division, Howard County Road and Bridge, City of Big Spring Code Enforcement, City of Big Spring Public Works, City of Big Spring Streets Department and the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. With the help of all of the entities, Big Spring Fire/EMS personnel were quickly able to surround the fire with units and get it contained. As a result, there was no loss of any structures. All roads surrounding the fire was open back up for traffic just after 5:00 P.M.
According to the official press release sent by the Big Spring PD, the cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the City of Big Spring Fire Marshall.
At approximately 3 PM, a second fire began on the south side of FM 700 near Mesa Street where it then crossed FM 700 just west of the Knollwood Heights Apartments on Martin Luther King Blvd., where it continued moving in a north eastern direction. Big Spring PD and Big Spring Fire/EMS responded to the area, along with other departments and resources and with a combined effort, they were quickly able to surround the fire with units and get it contained. As a result, there was no loss of any structures, and only 15 acres were burned.
As a result of the fires, Oncor reported that over 4500 customers were without power for several hours while crews worked to remove debris and clear paths to be able to begin repairs and replacements of poles and lines that had been damaged in both fires. AS OF THIS MORNING, a majority of customers have been restored with power, and there are approximately 300 customers still without power.