PALO PINTO COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Call it a multi-million dollar spark. Fire investigators have pinpointed the cause of the August/September grass fires at Possum Kingdom Lake.
An electrical fire on the 101 Ranch sparked the blaze that eventually burned more than 6,500 acres and destroyed 39 homes and nine RVs.
The 101 Ranch is just three miles from The Cliffs Resort around Possum Kingdom Lake.
Palo Pinto County Judge David Nicholas explained that one short started the whole thing. “They [workers] broke and caught a piece of electrical conduit and the wiring was chafed and exposed and it arched — and actually started the fire, kind of a small grass fire that blossomed into obviously something very large.”
Drought conditions and dry vegetation helped fuel the blaze that was so strong it jumped Highway 16. The fire was spotted early by the Texas Forest Service but by the time the first team could make it to the ranch things were out of control.
Judge Nicholas said he wasn’t surprised the blaze got out of hand so quickly. “We’ve had numerous fires this year and primarily, again, due to the dry conditions and the lack of rain that we’ve had this year,” he said
In April more than 150,000 acres of rural land and 100 houses were destroyed by fire at Possum Kingdom Lake.
Judge Nicholas said he was unsure of the estimated amount of damage, but expected it to be in the millions of dollars.
Hundreds of firefighters, from across the state, converged in Palo Pinto County to help fight the blaze. The federal government is reimbursing the county for 75-percent of the cost of fighting the fire.