Grass fires tapping McCulloch resources

McCulloch County fire and rescue crews have rung in the new year with a bang. After sending a total of 10 volunteers to help neighboring Mason County with a 3,000 acre grass fire near Art, a flurry of 12 calls in only three days has Brady fire chief Randy Rankin hoping this is not a sign of things to come in the new year. “We sent folks to help out in Mason and since they returned, we have been keeping busy,” said Rankin. “We have had seven calls for grass fires of which only one was caused by fireworks.” Firefighters from 12 different departments helped fight the Mason fire which has burned as much as eight miles of rough “billy goat” country. Two Texas Forest Service blackhawk helicopters using water buckets were also brought in to help contain the blaze. Reports indicate that the fire was caused by an individual using a chop saw. Firefighters from Brady, Voca, Melvin, Rochelle and Lohn all responded with personnel and equipment. With the increase in the number of grass fires in the area just prior to the New Year’s holiday, McCulloch County Judge Randy Young issued an emergency declaration of a burn ban last Friday. The ban was effective immediately and was formally enacted yesterday in a Thursday morning commissioners court meeting. That burn ban will remain in effect for 90 days. Other calls early this week included two medical assist calls, one structure fire and two accidents. For several members of the department, after returning home late New Year’s Eve, a 5:30 a.m. call of a car fire in a garage on Blackburn Street made for a short night’s sleep and a busy way to start the new year. “The car was actually located in the garage which was attached to the house and we were able to keep the fire from spreading and burning the home,” said Rankin. “All of the firefighters did a great job of keeping the fire from spreading and involving the entire home.”

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