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Wildfires break out in southeastern Clay County


A volunteer fire truck drives into heavy smoke on West Pleasant Valley Road Wednesday.

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel
Two large wildfires broke out in southeastern Clay County Tuesday morning, giving local volunteers all that they could handle.

The first fire was reported midmorning on Manton Road near Cray Lane, southeast of Bellevue, and is believed to be a case of arson. The blaze began as two fires sparked in separate locations along Manton Road, and quickly joined together. The fire first jumped Tyson Road, then spread across Hwy. 287 in two places near the Clay-Montague county line despite back burns along the median. Hwy. 287 was shut down until about 6 p.m. and traffic was rerouted through Bellevue to FM 1288 and on to FM 174.

The Bellevue fire reached Hwy. 81 north of Bowie before fire fighters could get a grasp on it, forcing Gold-Burg High School, in Stoneburg, to release students early. Bowie schools also let out early.

Reports on the size of the Manton Road fire vary from 2,000 to 12,000 acres.

Not long after fire fighters responded to the Bellevue fire, another blaze was reported on a property along Dark Hollow road north of Post Oak. forcing some departments to pull off and regroup in areas south of Vashti and Buffalo Springs. Due to the short time between the two fires, it was first thought that the Dark Hollow fire might also be arson, but it was later reported that the fire was sparked by a hay swather.

As of late Tuesday night, there were no reports on the number of acres burned by the Dark Hollow Road fire, but it was estimated to be several miles long and up to two miles wide in places.

Responding to the Manton Road Fire were Vashti, Bellevue, Bluegrove, Bowie, Henrietta, Bowie, Nocona Hills, Nocona Rural, Forestburg, Stoneburg, Windthorst, Scotland, and possibly others. Vashti, Bluegrove, Scotland and Windthorst pulled off of the Manton Road Fire to respond to the Dark Hollow Fire, and were joined by Jolly, Lake Arrowhead, Arrowhead Ranch Estates and others.

As of Tuesday night, no structures were reported lost in either fire.



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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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