The day Parker County burned
Monday morning started out like any other morning. I got to work, made some coffee and then had to go take pictures for a business groundbreaking ceremony. When I got back to the office, I was checking the Burleson Star Facebook page and was very distressed to see a notification from WFAA about a very large grass fire in Parker County.
You see, Parker County is where I live. Specifically, Weatherford.
I pulled up WFAA’s livestream of the fire and was horrified to see that the fire started on or near the Beggs Ranch, off of 1187 and I-20. The Beggs Ranch is the oldest working cattle ranch in Fort Worth. I’ve met a few of the Beggs. They are very nice people. Their house was nearly lost and who knows how many cattle lost their lives.
I continued to watch the livestream and saw firefighters work to control the blaze, which at this point had developed into a five-alarm fire. Soon, schools and homes were being evacuated and the wind was whipping the fire into tornado-like flames. It was absolutely devastating to watch. Talk about feeling helpless. I have several journalism friends who are editors and reporters in Parker County who got called out to the three fires that sprung up in the county over a three-hour period. One friend nearly got caught in the Beggs Ranch fire and another had to flee from a fire further west in the county. Journalism can be a dangerous line of work, folks. We do it at our own detriment sometimes to get you, the public, news.
At one point, I was fearful for my house, which was a five-minute drive from another fire. I was also worried about my horse, who I keep west of the Parker County courthouse. Fortunately, that fire was under control fairly quickly. The Beggs Ranch fire burned 1,700 acres.
Not enough thanks can be said for the volunteer firefighters who came out to help quell the flames in the fires. Like Johnson County, there are large areas of Parker County that are very rural and do not have a full-time fire department. We also need to thank the fire departments that sent back-ups from all over the DFW area.
Driving home, the acrid smell of smoke filled my nostrils when I started driving through Benbrook and continued to get stronger as I got into Parker County. Though it was 8 p.m., I could see the charred grass on either side of me. Officials said that the highway actually helped contain the fire. Though the 1,700 acre fire on the Beggs Ranch was the result of a broken utility pole, this just confirms how seriously we must take burn bans.
Bethann “Coldheart” Coldiron is the editor of the Burleson Star. She got the nickname Coldheart from her journalism professor after she got a politician to confirm that he lied during a T.V. interview.