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Zephyr Wildfire Threatens Orica Dynamite Plant

Jul 24, 2018

A trash fire at a residence in Zephyr got out of control Monday, and hot windy conditions pushed it toward a dynamite plant.  Officials initially issued an evacuation order for a 15 mile radius, before shrinking the evacuation to a one-mile radius.   Zephyr, a town about 90 miles southeast of Abilene...with a population of less than a-thousand, relies on a volunteer fire department.  As the flames spread toward the Orica dynamite plant they called in help from the Texas A&M Forrest Service, which sent an air-attack plane to scout the fire.  The fire did reach the plant, but only affected out-buildings which didn't contain explosives. Once the fire had passed the plant, officials lifted some of the evacuation orders. Conditions here have been dry-and hot winds accompanied a high of 109 Monday, offering no help to the fire fighters who came from 18 different departments around the region. Clay Bales, works with the Texas A&M Forrest Service, and served as Public Information Officer on the 259 Fire in Zephyr.  He says they're seeing several fires start each day, and he encourages home and land owners to take extra precautions. "Follow the burning bans.  And when it comes to your home, try to prepare your home.  If there's any debris in your gutters or under your deck, if you have vegetation right up to the house, think about clearing that back, mowing your grass short, putting any break you can, so that an ember that comes from a fire doesn't have a place to land and grow, to consume your home." Bales stresses that people should also keep personal drones away from wildfires...drones can slow down firefighting efforts -as firefighting planes must be grounded any time a firefighter sees a drone near a fire.