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Game Ranch Fire continues to burn in Nolan County 5 days later, land owners worried

NOLAN COUNTY, Texas – Shane Robertson is upset that a wind turbine caught fire on his 1,200 acre land and burned about 300 acres of his property.

“I’m still grateful for what they do and produce and income and economy that they provide for our area, but at the same time they have to be safe,” said Robertson.

Wind turbine caught on fire (Joe Fry/KTXS)

The Game Ranch Fire is located north of FM 89 near the Nolan/Taylor County line.

It started Monday afternoon and was still considered active Friday morning, according to the Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden.

“There are probably 15 trucks out there working right now to make sure that the line is wide as they can make it and all the hot spots were put out,” said Madden.

Wind turbine burns more than 3,000 acres of land (Joe Fry/KTXS)

The wildfire continued to run for at least five miles and has burned more than 3,200 acres destroying land in its path.

Robertson and other land owners are concerned about their land, homes, and families if another wind turbine catches on fire.

“The financial reward of wind turbines is not worth the safety of your family and property,” said Robertson.

Wind turbine caught on fire (Joe Fry/KTXS)

KTXS reached out to AES Corporation, which owns the turbine that caught on fire.

In a written statement, AES said:

“On Monday, July 13, 2020, a brush fire broke out at the Buffalo Gap wind farm, an AES facility in Nolan and Taylor Counties in Texas, following days of extreme heat and strong winds in the area. The fire started at Turbine 46, located north of FM 89 and eventually burned to west of CR 255 into a field where it was stopped. According to the local Mulberry Canyon Fire Department, approximately 3,000 acres were impacted.

The local Mulberry Canyon Fire Department was called as soon as the brush fire was discovered. The fire department responded quickly and had the fire 30% contained on Monday and 100% contained the following day. The land around the AES wind farm, located at 10718 FM89 in Merkel, Texas, is largely uninhabited and free of private residences.

The Buffalo Gap facility contains almost 300 wind turbines that are maintained according the manufacturer’s recommended standards. Regular maintenance is performed on the turbines two times per year, with monitoring of the facility conducted on an ongoing basis.

AES is in the process of reaching out to individuals whose properties border the Buffalo Gap facility to assist them with any damage that occurred as a result of this incident. So far, we have been in contact with 10 of our neighbors. We have not received any reports that people or livestock were injured. Currently, we are only aware of one home that may have experienced some damage. If you were impacted by these events and have not been in contact with us, please reach out to Jim Albert at (325) 665-7782, james.albert@aes.com or Tracy Jarvis at (325) 725-6180, tracy.jarvis@aes.com.

On Weds., July 15, in another part of Nolan County, a brush fire broke out six miles from the Buffalo Gap wind farm in a wholly unrelated incident.”