BOSQUE COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – UPDATE: The Texas A&M Forest Service reported on Saturday, July 16 that the Hard Castle Fire in Bosque County is 540 acres and is 100 percent contained. All state resources have been released, and the fire has transitioned back to the local unit.
This comes after the Texas A&M Forest Service reported on Thursday that the fire was 540 acres and was 85 percent contained.
Officials say the fire received beneficial rain on Thursday. Prior to the rain, firefighters were pulled off the line due to poor visibility in the 60 mph winds. The wind was followed by rain, which helped cool the remaining hot spots down. Crews went back out after the storm passed to check containment lines due to the high winds. Staffing is expected to reduce down to a few engines in the next few days, since fire activity has become minimal.
This comes after crews worked throughout Tuesday and Wednesday to target hot spots in the Hard Castle Fire in Bosque County. Crews targeted hot spots near the containment lines, as well as a few trees torching well interior of the fire. The plan for Thursday is to continue to find and extinguish remaining hot spots. A helicopter recon flight was used to find areas of concern on Tuesday morning.
Better mapping is completed since final containment lines have been established. The area burned decreased from the original estimate of 600 acres to 540 acres. The containment decreased to 70 percent, but reached 80 percent, as of Tuesday afternoon. The fire is approximately three miles long, and a half-mile wide. It was stopped a quarter-mile from reaching a home. Firefighters have worked tirelessly to keep this fire from reaching Walnut Springs.
It will be several days before firefighters leave the scene, so any help is greatly appreciated. The Walnut Springs Fire Station is fully stocked, and crews are asking for any donations of water, ice, snacks, and electrolytes to be dropped off at local fire stations. As new fires start, other departments would be grateful to have these supplies.
The cause of the fire was from rekindle from a previously-contained fire – which was originally started by power lines. No evacuations have been made.
As of Monday morning, the Bosque County Office of Emergency Management says there are still around 65 to 70 firefighters at the Hard Castle Fire near Walnut Springs.
The Office says that work on containment lines is slowly progressing, but there is still much work to do. It is anticipated for firefighters to be on scene all week long.
Firefighters continued to address hotspots throughout the fire on Sunday. A helicopter was used to drop water on areas of concern that engines were not able to access. As of Sunday night, the fire was 90 percent contained. Crews continued to put out areas as smoke appeared throughout the day.
The Forestry Service and local fire officials reported on Thursday that the fire was now considered under control. Fire services remained on location through that night, and continued to work to completely extinguish all flames and until the risk of reigniting was eliminated.
Houses along the East side of FM-144 south of Walnut Springs, as well as houses south of FM-927 and East of Walnut Springs, were under pre-evacuation. Residents should remain alert over the next couple days.
As of Friday morning, the Hard Castle Fire in Bosque County was 600 acres and 50 percent contained – according to TAMFS. This fire started from another fire which was thought to be contained. One structure has been confirmed to be lost.
Crews worked through the night to successfully stop forward progression of the fire. Private dozers, volunteer fire departments (VFDs), county maintainers, and forest service personnel fought fire aggressively to protect homes and infrastructure. Aviation resources started dropping retardant and water on the fire on Thursday morning – working to strengthen containment lines and slow spread until heavy equipment can successfully put in fire breaks around the entire fire. Multiple helicopters, fire boss single engine air tankers, and large air tankers responded to the scene.
No structures are reported as threatened. However, residents in the area should stay aware of the situation of the fire. Trigger points should be set to indicate when an evacuation should take place in case the fire crosses containment lines.
A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire. This TFR applies to drones as well – meaning if a drone is in the area, all aerial firefighting operations must stop until the airspace is cleared.
Bosque County Emergency Management reported Thursday morning that the forward progress of the fire appeared to have been stopped. They reported there might still be some flare-ups from backburning, but this is a controlled process which is being done by the Forestry Service.
Texas A&M Forest Service originally responded to a request for assistance in Walnut Springs at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. They were tied in with area departments, and were working in unified command to control the fire. Dry fuels, wind, and low humidity enabled the fire to burn uncontrolled though the thick junipers. Extreme fire behavior was discovered before sundown – with spotting up to a quarter mile in front of the head of the fire.
Departments from all across Bosque County responded to the scene, as well as private dozers and highway patrol. Firefighters took advantage of the higher humidity at night to secure containment lines by burning off vegetation between the fire break and the fire.
Air resources were requested on Thursday morning.