MERCURY PHOTOS by BRAD ROLLINS
6:05 p.m. SATURDAY, FEB. 16: The largest of three grassfires along Texas 123 today consumed about five acres of pasture before being brought under control, San Marcos Fire battalion chief Jim Matano said.
SMFD was called to douse the string of roadside fires in eastern San Marcos at about 1:15 p.m. All of the blazes were contained within an hour or so, Matano said, but the largest of them was not fully extinguished until about 5 p.m.
The San Marcos Fire Department responded with three fire engines while the South Hays Fire Department sent four brush trucks.
The fires were probably started accidentally by sparks caused either by a vehicle’s mechanical problems or a dragging chain, Fire Marshal Ken Bell said.
4:30 p.m. SATURDAY, FEB. 16: San Marcos and South Hays firefighters doused at least two grassfires along the east side of Texas 123 this afternoon.
The larger of the blazes, consumed an area surrounding a San Marcos water tower near Bowie Elementary and the Cottonwood Creek subdivision. A smaller fire was also extinguished on the northeast corner of Texas 123 and Wonder World Drive, across Redwood Road from a Sac-n-Pac convenience store.
The fires appear to be accidental, San Marcos Fire Marshal Ken Bell said. He suspects they were caused by mechanical failure of a northbound vehicle or sparks from a trailer dragging a chain. The San Marcos Fire Department battalion chief in charge of the operation was still on the scene and not immediately available for comment.
Hays County is faring worse than surrounding counties. It measured between 500 and 600 on the Keetch Byram Drought Index today, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. Travis, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Comal and Blanco counties were all between 400 and 500 on the drought index.