West Temple Neighborhood in Flames, Evacuations Ordered
UPDATE: Temple Fire & Rescue issued the following press release and images late Friday night.
On Friday, July 20, 2018, Temple Firefighters responded to a reported grass fire in the 1100 Block of Sugar Brook Drive in the Windmill Farms Subdivision. Fire began spreading into a field behind houses on Orion Drive. The Incident Commander requested assistance from the East Side Strike Team, which supplied additional vehicles and firefighters from neighboring fire departments.
Mutual aid was provided by the following departments: Bartlett, Belton, Holland, Little River Academy, Moffat, Morgan’s Point, Rogers, Salado, Sparta and Troy. Resources from Bell County included personnel from the Emergency Management Office, Fire Marshal’s Office and a bulldozer from the Road and Bridge Department. Texas A&M Forest Service sent bulldozers, vehicles and firefighters and an airplane which dropped chemical retardant on the fire. A helicopter was used to survey the extent of damage. Law enforcement agencies included Bell County Constable’s Office, Bell County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Temple Police. Rehab was conducted by Temple Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) with resources provided by numerous organizations and individuals.
Law enforcement went door to door notifying neighbors in close proximity of the fire to consider evacuating. Approximately 150 homes were threatened by the fire. No homes were damaged by the fire, but five outbuildings and one abandoned vehicle was destroyed. The fire consumed 300 acres. Four firefighters were injured while fighting the fire. Three due to heat related problems and one with a sprained ankle. They were transported by Temple EMS to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple for treatment.
The call was dispatched at 1:35 p.m. and the first unit arrived at 1:42 p.m. The East Side Strike Team was activated at 2:13 p.m. Residents were allowed to return to their homes at 5:24 p.m. The fire is over 90% contained and firefighters will remain on scene tonight extinguishing numerous hot spots.
With extreme dry conditions, residents are asked to be extremely careful with any outdoor activities which might create a spark such as mowing, using torches or grinding equipment. Discard cigarettes and all smoking materials inside vehicle ash trays, never discard them outside the vehicle. A Burn Ban remains in effect for Bell County.
Our news partners at KWTX report that West Temple residents in the Windmill Farms neighborhood are being evacuated due to a wildfire.
Fire officials at the scene said the flames were spreading to the north of West Adams Avenue alongside Highway 317 close to High Point Elementary School.
Temple Fire & Rescue were reaching out to other community fire departments for assistance. An air tanker was en route to help douse the flames.
Reports from the area around 3:45 p.m. said no homes have been damaged, but that some non-residential structures may have burned. Nearby High Point Elementary School and the future site of a new Belton ISD high school weren't in danger at the time of that report.
Authorities are asking residents to avoid Highway 317 because of the heavy emergency vehicle traffic. A portion of FM 2438 was closed to traffic.
We will update at more details become available.
Below are photos taken by one of our employees' husband.