CORYELL COUNTY, Tx — The Copperas Cove Fire Department announced Wednesday they had fully contained the wildfire in Coryell County that started July 18. The fire burned 2,887 acres in the span of seven days.
Deputy Fire Chief, Gary Young, said while the fire was listed at 100 percent contained fire crews will visit the site over the course of the next week to watch for any smoldering fires that may reoccur.
The fire started July 18 and at one point threatened several homes in the area. As many as 25 different departments from around Texas and out of state responded to the fire, according to Clay Bales with the Texas Forest Service. They had stopped it from spreading by July 21.
"That's what makes this work," said Bales. "The local resources stepping up and partnering with state resources and together they come up with a plan of action and they're able to work as hard as they can."
Bales said at its worst the fire was about nine miles long.
One thing Bales said created problems as they tried to get the fire contained was people flying drones over the site.
"We really plead with people to not come to the fire and fly drones. We ground all aircraft when drones are spotted," said Bales.
Bales asked everyone to monitor their county burn bans and act accordingly.
"We're asking folks to be aware that with the heat and low humidity, we have a high potential for starts today. We want to avoid that by not having people burn outdoors," Bales said.
Wildland Urban Interface Specialist Victoria Cruz said on July 20 the fire jumped containment between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and started moving toward the small town of Pearl.
As a result, the Coryell County Sheriff's Office called for voluntary evacuations along County Roads 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 183, Star Road and Slater Road. Those evacuations were lifted the next day.
No one has been badly injured. Some firefighters were treated for heat related illnesses, according to Bales but no one had been hospitalized.
Crews first got the call around 4:25 p.m. Wednesday for the fire near Harmon Road and Table Rock Road.
“It really is just a very good condition for the fire to grow, bad for us because we have to chase it and put it out,” Copperas Cove Fire Department Deputy Chief Gary Young said.
Young said having the Texas A&M Forest Service on scene helps because they are specialists in wild land firefighting and they can predict wind speed changes and know where the fire will move next.
One of the biggest challenges is getting to the fire. They often have to go though high brush or cut though fences, Young said.
“We’re driving trucks where trucks don’t normally get driven. We’re having to make our own roads,” Young said.
The Texas A&M Forest Service asks ranchers who are interested in wildfire prevention, mitigation and recovery resources available to them are encouraged to visit Central Texas Conservation Partnership's website.