Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wildfire spreads miles upon miles from original spark

Clifton - Shortly after the lunch hour, wild fires broke out along the path of State Highway 22 and FM 219 - the route between the lakeside community of Laguna Park situated on dam at Lake Whitney, and Clifton, which is located on the other side of a steep ridge that divides the Brazos and Bosque River valleys.

The fire quickly followed the path of gusting light and variable winds blowing in a northwesterly to southwesterly direction.

Fire departments from numerous communities responded in an effort to bring the deadly phenomenon under control, a happening made even more baffling and frustrating by the fact that sparks are carried hundreds of yards and set new blazes in even more remote areas.

Firemen find themselves having to double back across the rocky pasture lands to fight new blazes; they are constantly in danger of being trapped in the midst of a suddenly hot and blazing environment from which there is no escape.

According to Clifton Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Snyder, there was one injury to a man who was treated at Goodall-Witcher Hospital. He said he did not know if the blazes caused damage to any dwellings or other structures.

People stood along the highways and on the hilltops watching carefully, keeping in touch with those who live in the area over their cell phones and ham radios.

The rumors abounded. No one was really sure how the fire started. Many said a man towing a barbecue pit down State Highway 22 at Laguna Park hit a bump, which caused showers of sparks to cascade to the cracker-dry tinder of the burned, brown grass along the roadside.

Less than half the average annual rainfall has fallen during the year 2011 in the area of Central Texas. Conditions are extremely hazardous.

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