Palo Pinto County wildfire grows over 20 times original size in three days, officials say

Texas A&M Forest Service/Texas A&M Forest Service
·2 min read

A Palo Pinto County fire that started Thursday has expanded from 300 acres to over 6,500 acres and remains only 12% contained as of Saturday.

The Texas A&M Forest Service said it was responding to a fire in Palo Pinto County that was originally named the “Palo Pinto 3410 Fire” before becoming the “Dempsey Fire” on Thursday afternoon. The blaze began in grassland between Palo Pinto Highway and northbound FM Road 4.

Later Thursday, the Dempsey Fire was 5% contained. The forest service said firefighters on the ground, and air, were providing assistance, but by around 7 p.m. the flames grew to over 500 acres.

“A large airtanker, 3 fireboss single engine air tankers and an air attack platform are assisting ground crews with suppression efforts,” the forest service said in its update.

By the following morning, the blaze continued to grow to an estimated 1,200 acres and was about 20% contained.

The Texas A&M Forest Service said the fire was “burning into an old burn scar from earlier this year,” and that crews would continue fighting the flames Friday morning, but by 10 a.m., the fire doubled in size to 3,000 acres and the fire behavior became “very active.”

At 9 p.m. Friday, the forest service said the fire had grown over 20 times its original size.

“Update: the #DempseyFire in Palo Pinto County is an estimated 6,500 acres and 12% contained. All flanks of the fire are active. Crews are focused on life safety, structure protection and establishing containment lines. #txfire,” Texas A&M Forest Service wrote on Twitter.

On Saturday morning, crews had continued to work overnight and have contained the fire to the same numbers as the last update the night prior. Firefighters will continue to work on the blaze throughout the day with aviation resources.