Controlled burns cause two fires

Published 10:10 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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The Beulah Fire Department has responded to three residential fires in three days. An electric malfunction caused one, but two of the fires were caused by controlled burns.

The first was on March 30. Beulah FD was dispatched at 9:10 a.m. to the 1400 block of Lee Road 2150. The caller reported the single-wide mobile home to be engulfed in flames, and all residents of the home safely outside. One of the home’s occupants was later evaluated by EMS, but no injuries were reported. 

When BFD arrived with two apparatus and five personnel on the scene thermal imaging cameras soon found a “moderate amount of fire in the void space between the ceiling and roof,” according to a release on the department’s Facebook page. 

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The firefighters were able to access the fire through the main living floor and the roof. The fire was considered under control around 15 minutes after BFD had arrived. They determined the cause of the fire was embers from a nearby controlled burn landing on the roofing material and catching on fire.

Captain Chris Payne of BFD said the homeowners had been conducting a controlled burn of garbage in their yard when some of the embers from the burn landed on the roof. The homeowners did not have a permit for the burn. 

“They’re supposed to call down here to the station and ask to get a burn permit and we will clarify what they will be burning if they have a water source close by to them and also get a name and the actual address for where the fire is going to be burned,” said Payne. 

Currently, there is no penalty for burning without a permit, but the practice is highly encouraged. 

“There isn’t but there should be. If you start a fire you should be able to have it under control and tell the fire department, let them know,” Payne said.

It is important to call the fire department because they will know if conditions are good enough to conduct a burn. On Thursday, Lee County was under a Red Flag Warning, meaning that the low humidity and wind made for dangerous burn conditions. 

Two days after the fire, on April 1 at 9:15 a.m., BFD was dispatched to a single-story wood frame home on the 1200 block of Lee Road 374. The caller had similarly reported the exterior of the home on fire and all occupants outside. 

BFD, Plainview Volunteer Fire Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the scene. The exterior of the residence was on fire with a “large controlled burn” next to the building, stated the release. The fire was contained to the exterior of the home. The cause was the radiating heat from controlled burns next to the house. No injuries were reported. 

For those wanting to conduct a controlled burn on their property, Payne encourages individuals to contact their local stations for permits and guidance.

“Have a reliable water source around, close by to you. And also use common sense when burning,” Payne said.