Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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June 5, 2008

Hay field blaze gets 100 acres

NAVARRO — Firefighters were not only racing the flames Thursday afternoon, but high winds and the terrain.

A fire started by a man welding in a hay field on SECR 0160 grew from an estimated two acres early on, to five acres when the first firefighter arrived, to an estimated 100 acres at its height, according to one sheriff’s deputy at the scene.

Southerly winds were forecast for gusts as high as 40 mph Thursday, with a wind advisory in effect until 9 p.m. yesterday. At the hay field fire, the winds were more than evident as the massive amounts of smoke produced by the flames weren’t rising too far into the sky before bending and forming a stream toward the north.

The quickness with which the fire was spreading, along with those high winds and nearby residents to the north, had what was nearly a “roll call” of local fire departments responding.

Volunteer departments at the scene included the ones from Mildred, Navarro, Eureka, Richland, Retreat, and Corbet/Oak Valley, as well as the Corsicana Fire Department.

With the movement of firefighting equipment and personnel in and around the fire scene, it was difficult to tell how many total fire trucks and tanker trucks responded.

The American Red Cross brought in its disaster relief van, dispensing liquids and sandwiches to emergency personnel as they rotated off the fire for an occasional break from the action.

Commanders at the scene were concerned about containing the northward advance of the flames. In that direction lay a line of residences on the next county road over, as well as a heavy thicket of Mesquite brush.

At 2:30 p.m., firefighters had the field of flames knocked back to a level where only thin streams of smoke were rising from the burnt hay grasses, but large round bales of hay scattered across the acreage continued to burn, flame, die down, then re-ignite.

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