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Brushfire claims two acres of land on Hwy. 77 near Odem

Highway 77 fire.jpg
Posted at 2:21 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 16:51:44-04

State Hwy. 77 has been reduced to one lane after a small brushfire broke out near Odem at around 1:30 p.m.

The fire only claimed two acres, near the Nueces and San Patricio County lines, but Nueces County ESD No. 1 Fire Chief Michael Clack said the saltgrass, and brush burned created a lot of smoke in the area.

Clack said the department believes the fire was ignited by a crew building a fence.

"It may have accidentally created a spark," he said. "In this dry condition, even a tractor just mowing can start a fire if you hit something metal as you're mowing."

He said the fire currently is out, but crews will be on-hand in order to monitor hotspots.

"Because of the extreme heat, we're having to rotate our crews in and out a lot trying to finish putting smoke out so it'll stop crossing the road," he said. "The heat's tough. We're having to take a lot of breaks. I had to call in more people. I normally wouldn't have this many people out here, but we're having to take more breaks because of the heat."

Traffic expected to stay reduced to one lane late into the afternoon because of the smoke's effect on visibility and in order to protect firefighters, he said.

"Unless you have to mow, it doesn't need to be done," he said. "If you do, I advise everyone to have a fire extinguisher with them anytime they're doing anything (that can cause a) spark. That way you can stop it before it has a chance to go anywhere."