Firefighters tested by three grass fires in a row

Comanche County_It was man against flame again in Comanche County on Tuesday afternoon as grass fires tested firefighters one right after the other.  New outbreaks began in the northern part of the county, and two more hot spots flared southeast on the south side of Goodin Road between East 45th and Flowermound.

In the south, firefighters confronted two separate blazes in adjacent wheat fields.  Authorities suspect arson after tracking two sets of footprints leading to a bar ditch.  Although the fires are still under investigation, fire officials say they are extremely suspicious.

High winds fueled the flames which quickly, put firefighters in a dangerous situation.  Thick smoke could be seen from miles away.  Firefighters say they believe they have extinguished all the hot spots, but the wildfire scorched 360 acres of farmland.

Fire Chief Joshua Sullivan says no homes were lost in the grass fire his crew fought, but damage burning tires can cause is another matter.  "No structures burned, [but] we have some tires burning that will be an EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] concern," he says.

Polluted air isn't the only concern.  Sullivan says too many of the area's recent fires are caused by carelessness, or worse - arson.  "We're putting men's lives in danger," he says.  "We're using resources, fuel.  People out here are acting careless, and not thinking about other people's property is getting to be ridiculous."

Comanche County firefighters are volunteers - they work for no salary.  But, they say the Comanche County sales tax that voters chose to pass last April is helping.  Sullivan says the money is helping them pay for fuel, costs, repairs, and other supplies.