• July 30, 2014

Seven departments battle stubborn 130-acre wildfire

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Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 4:30 am

MOODY — Firefighters from seven area volunteer departments Monday were still fighting a stubborn 130-acre wildfire that started around 4 p.m. Sunday from a campfire at Iron Bridge Park in north Bell County.

Fanned by winds gusting up to 25 mph and fueled by tons of dead trees in the Belton Lake flood plain, the fire kept men and equipment busy overnight Sunday and into Monday, said Steven Carter, regional fire coordinator with the Texas A&M Forest Service. The forest service dispatched four bulldozers Sunday afternoon and cut a line to contain the blaze, he said.

More than 30 firefighters, nine brush trucks and a water tender responded to the fire from volunteer departments from Gatesville, Moffat, Coryell City/Osage, Levita, Flat, Jonesboro and Oglesby, said Kenneth Arrington of the Gatesville Fire Department.

“More are on standby,” Arrington said.

No one was hurt and no structures were damaged as of Monday afternoon, when Carter said the blaze was about 25 percent contained.

“Five houses that were considered threatened were the main focus” of firefighters’ efforts, Carter said. The buildings were out of danger Monday.

Sparks from a campfire at Iron Bridge Park “jumped the Leon River” Sunday and spread into dense brush clogged with tangled dead tree trunks “stacked like spaghetti” from past floods, Carter said.

“It’s a really active fire that burned through 1:30 a.m., when most fires tend to slow down,” Carter said. “This sorry son-of-a-gun wanted to keep going.”

Firefighters were working from a command center set up at a rural church on Meador Grove Road.

Iron Bridge Park is in the Belton Lake flood plain and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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