KILLEEN, Texas (July 15, 2022) – The City of Killeen’s Fire Department and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management tackled six wildfires on Thursday, July 14, with the help of ten neighboring agencies.
Joining KFD, the Killeen OHSEM and the Killeen Police Department, were fire departments from Fort Hood, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Salado, SW Bell County Volunteers, Sparta Valley Volunteers, Bell County Office of Emergency Management, Texas A&M University Central Texas police department and Risk Management, and the Texas A&M Forest Service.
The two, largest fires— the Riley Fire and TAMUCTX-- were under control within two hours of receiving the calls, although crews monitored the sites overnight into today.
Thursday’s wildfires include:
- Bowie Drive: 1:52p.m. (Burned less than 1 acre and cause was arcing electrical from high winds)
- Zephyr Road and MLK Jr. Boulevard: 1:54p.m. (Burned less than 1 acre and cause was arcing electrical from high winds)
- Lawndale Street: 1:54p.m. (Burned less than 1 acre and cause was arcing electrical from high winds)
- Riley Drive and WS Young Drive: 1:59p.m. (Burned approximately 30 acres and cause was arcing transformer)
- Spring Valley Drive: 2:29p.m. (Burned a very small area with low grass near a mobile home and cause is unknown)
- Texas A&M University Central Texas at Leadership Drive: 3:36p.m. (Burned approximately 30 acres and this sparked when tree mulch was blown into heavy brush from storm winds)
“Yesterday’s fires were not a surprise, based on the current weather conditions/situation,” Killeen Fire Chief, Jim Kubinski, said. “Strong winds from the storm that moved through, caused many of the fires in a very short amount of time, prompting the call for mutual aid resources.”
WS Young Drive from Stagecoach Road to Love Drive was closed while crews battled the flames, but the road reopened by 6p.m. yesterday.
There were no mandatory evacuations at either fire, although residents at two homes voluntarily left their home as a precaution.
KDF and the Killeen OHSEM have these tips remind residents to help prevent wildfires:
- Keeping lawns mowed, and removing dead brush
- Vehicle exhaust systems spark hundreds of wildfires each year when they contact dry vegetation. If possible, avoid driving on dry grass when fire danger is high and never park a vehicle on dry grass.
- If you are towing a trailer, make sure it is roadworthy with good tires, greased bearings, and no chains dragging
- If you smoke, put it out. All the way. Every time.
- Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out before throwing them in the trash can. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
- Keep your butts in the car - cigarettes can cause brush fires as well as indoor fires – smoking-related fires contribute to 800 deaths per year in the U.S.
- Try to avoid using outdoor cooking appliances until conditions improve.
- Ensure that trailers with chains do not drag on the road which can cause sparks that set brush on fire.
*City of Killeen YouTube link to video of firefighting operations yesterday: https://youtu.be/KvYytTjoxqk