Gonzales County departments battle 35-acre grass fire near Waelder


Gonzales County remains under a burn ban due to excessive drought and unsafe fire conditions, as evidenced by a grass fire which burned nearly 35 acres Tuesday, Sept. 12 off County Road 444 north of Thompsonville near Waelder.

What the Texas A&M Forest Service is calling the “Vacate Fire” was first called in to Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at about 11:57 a.m. Tuesday with a call of a grass fire. Gonzales Fire Department, Waelder Fire, Ottine Volunteer Fire Department, Delhi VFD and Flatonia Fire Department were all called to the scene with GFD assuming incident command.

Due to the size of the blaze, the Texas A&M Forest Service was alerted and they brought with them a D6 dozer, UTV, fire engine and personnel to help battle the blaze.

Gonzales County Emergency Service District No. 1 provided hydration and medical assistance, if needed, to those on the scene, while Gonzales County Fire Marshal Jimmy Harless was monitoring the scene with a drone.

As of 8:10 p.m., the fire was reported to still be active, though 100 percent contained. No structures are listed as having been burned and there are no reported injuries.

“The CR 444 Fire started with welding and we have had a few of those recently, just not as big. It was about 35 acres,” Harless said. “We are still very dry, so the burn ban remains in effect. We do have some potential moisture in the forecast, but in my opinion, it just won’t be enough. I do hope I’m wrong.”

Harless said his big concern is that “when we get a little moisture, folks tend to think it’s okay to burn, but that is not a good thing during this drought.”

“We would need much more moisture before I would recommend the lifting of the burn ban. Of course, that’s up to the Judge and Commissioners,” Harless said. “I certainly think it will continue for at least several weeks, but Mother Nature has her own plans, so we just never know.”