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Busy 24 hour stretch for firefighters in Jim Wells County

Fire crews battled five fires in Jim Wells County Thursday alone
Alice fire.jpg
Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 19:11:46-05

JIM WELLS COUNTY, Texas — Fire crews were out late Wednesday night into Thursday morning battling a fire on County Road 624 near Orange Grove until around one o’clock in the morning.

Around 11 a.m. Thursday morning, crews were called back to the same stretch of road for a new fire.

“We’ve been busy, all our departments from the area, Nueces County, San Pat, Jim Wells, Duval, Brooks County,” Sandia Fire Chief Henry Barajas said. “We’ve all been busy all week long.”

Around 1 p.m., a call came for another fire just down the road that started. Just before 2 p.m., another call. Around ten minutes later, another. One by one, trucks broke off from the original fire to fight other fires in the nearby area.

Before arriving at the fire near Orange Grove, Agua Dulce Volunteer Fire Department had been near Bishop assisting with a fire. Not too far away, the Alice Fire Department battled a fire off County Road 44.

“It comes and goes, the wind picks up and these fires take off on us. We’ve got to take advantage of when the winds are a little lower,” said Alice fire chief Patrick Thomas.

Texas A&M Forest Service had crews stationed around the area, who helped with both fires.

“They knew this was going to be a pretty rough day for the firefighters,” Thomas said.

Heather Gonzales, with the Texas A&M Forest Service, said in her five years working in the area, she’s seen an increase in the number of busy winter seasons.

“These last couple of years - at least the winter season - have been a little more active than normal, mostly due to those hard freezes,” she said.

TFS reports since the start of February, Coastal Bend counties have seen a reported 21 fires, burning a total of 6,701 acres of land.

Fire Chart in Jim Wells
The map shows the wildfire daily perimeter as of Feb. 16.

Gonzales said TFS does rely on local fire departments to report fires, so there were likely more fires in the area in that time frame.