The Mulberry Creek Fire south of Merkel in Taylor County is estimated to be 500 acres and 100% contained, as of 10 p.m. Monday, according to a social media update from the Texas A&M Forest Service.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas A&M Forest Service reported several wildfires in the area Monday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office reported a grass fire in the 5100 block of Farm to Market 89 just after 3 p.m., with Nolan County and Mulberry Canyon volunteer fire departments at the scene, along with Forest Service crews.
At the initial time of the report, 40-50 acres were on fire, with airplanes en route, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
An alert on Twitter posted at 6:42 p.m. said that the Forest Service was responding to a request for assistance in Taylor County on the “Mulberry Creek Fire” near Merkel, which it then estimated to be 500 acres and 30% contained.
Smoke still could be seen at 7:30 p.m. from Abilene.
Kari Hines, a Forest Service public information officer, said that the Mulberry Creek blaze was located near the intersection of County Road 304 and County Road 640.
Hines said that the firefighting crews from Merkel, View, Tye, Abilene and Taylor County Precinct 2 reported to the scene.
“There’s some topography out there that they ran into that the heavy equipment was having an issue with,” she said. “But (according to) notes, they worked their way around it.”
The fire was burning north toward U.S. Interstate 20, Hines said.
“But there is a plowed field in between the fire and the highway, so that will significantly change fire behavior,” she said.
Single-engine air tankers were working on the blaze, so that firefighters could get closer, Hines said.
The Forest Service’s Lone Star State Incident Management Team’s Facebook page also said noted the “Game Ranch Fire” in Nolan County, initially reported at 150 acres and 20 percent contained as of 4:53 p.m.
Hines said as of 7:30 p.m. that fire was estimated at 1,500 acres and was 30 percent contained.
The fire is “right on the county line of Nolan and Taylor (counties),” she said, north of Farm to Market 126.
Air support was given earlier in the day, she said, while fire crews from Mulberry Canyon, Sweetwater, Lake Sweetwater and Nolan, as well as county equipment responded.
“They are working in some fairly thick vegetation, so the progression has been slow,” she said, crews working an “indirect line.”
“Instead of being right up against the fire, they’re working indirectly, which is usually just done when we can’t access the fire because it’s too thick or the terrain isn’t good enough,” she said. “They’re working on widening some ranch roads. That way when the fire gets to them, it has a better chance of slowing or stopping.”
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