Lightning strike causes fire that consumes 12 acres
By Robin Scott
Lightning is blamed for a fire on Wednesday, June 17th. The fire broke out just as thunderstorms began entering the Dallam and Hartley Counties area. The Dalhart Fire Department was dispatched to the scene with three units and the fire was quickly contained.
The fire occurred on the Carl Finch Ranch about 13 miles west of Dalhart off of Highway 54 West. The fire destroyed approximately 12 acres of grassland. Firemen used all of the water from one truck and began using a second truck. They continued to monitor the fire after it was distinguished to guard against it flaring back up.
Nick Olson, XIT Museum’s Curator, who lives just across from the area where the fire broke out stated on Thursday that many fires due to lightning have struck the area. When he learned of the fire on Wednesday he immediately called neighbors to warn them and then he headed toward the area. He stated he was relieved to learn that the first was con tained to grasses only andno structures were in danger of harm.
Deputy Penny Loudder with the Hartley County Sheriff’s Office assisted and provided a landmark with her vehicle so that emergency responders could find the unmarked country road that lead to the fire. Wallace Palmer operated the maintainer for Hartley County to assist in subduing the fire.
During thunderstorm season it is important to be aware of lightning safety tips. The National Weather Service warns people that lightning deaths and injuries occur most frequently under and near trees and in open areas. Since lightning can strike up to 10 miles from a thunderstorm, getting under fully enclosed shelter when thunder is heard is extremely important, as lightning is striking somewhere in the vicinity. More information on lightning and lightning safety may be found at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama and http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.