Updated: Oct 9
At 2 p.m. Monday afternoon, a call went into Jasper County regarding a fast-moving grass fire threatening structures. Once departments arrived, it was quickly determined that a massive pile of tires was on fire.
It was initially believed that the tires were intentionally set on fire, however, it was later determined that a neighbor was burning brush and the fire spread to the tires and other debris.
Kirbyville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Greg Ellis said, "The fire is contained but is still burning. It's going to have to burn itself out. Texas Forest Service will continue to monitor the fire throughout the day tomorrow".
Brett Garett Granger said regarding the tires, "I am the son of Johnny Granger the property owner. My grandpa Wallace Granger is the one who piled the tires up that got burned today. The tires have been there longer than I’ve been alive. Those tires did not cause the fire. We have confirmed it was a neighbor burning brush along his fence that started it. He knew we were in a burn ban. The fire department said he called and asked the day before and was informed we are in fact in a burn ban but he decided to burn brush along his fence line anyway".
Kirbyville Volunteer Fire Department, Trout Creek Volunteer Fire Department, and Texas Forest Service were at the location of 1353 FM 1004 battling the blaze. Units were stationed between homes battling the grass fires as well.
Ellis added, "People have to understand that we are still dry and remain in a burn ban. A citation was issued, but I don't know how much. The amount goes up to $500, depending on the situation".
It is important to add that, at times a citation is given and arrests are made. Again, it depends on the damage done and whether or not a person is a repeat offender.
Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said, "According to reports, a resident on FM 1004 in the Call area started a fire on their property and it got out of control and crossed onto another property owner's land. This land had several used tires on it including several large heavy equipment tires and several vehicles. The fire ignited the tires, along with other items on the property resulting in the dark black smoke that was observed".
Allen added, "Deputy Sheriff Lesley Wade responded to the scene to investigate the fire's origination. Chief Ellis and Deputy Wade did an outstanding job of securing the scene and gaining containment of the approximately 3 acres that were consumed. I believe that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is going to be notified due to the local air quality issues resulting from the fire". Allen went on to say, "We ask that everyone be patient and understand that this burn ban is in place due to incidents like this and the one that took place in Evadale the other day. It only takes a brief instant and a fire can grow out of control right now. The rain from last week helped a bit, but the drought index is still extremely high in Jasper and Newton Counties and we are going to need quite a bit more precipitation to get out of their drought and return to normal levels".