The National Weather Service says there is a fire risk again today.

High winds and warm, dry conditions led to an outbreak of fires Thursday afternoon in Texas County.

Fire crews responded to blazes at several locations simultaneously beginning at about 2:30 p.m.

North of Houston, wind blew over a tree that fell on an electrical cable leading to the home of Susan Bunch and Gary Hale, at 9432 Strawberry Road. The hot cable fell on leaf-covered ground in a wooded area resulting in a wind-whipped fire that burned several acres.

Two trucks and seven firefighters from the Houston Rural Fire Department responded and the fire was contained before spreading further. Representatives from the Missouri Department of Conservation and Intercounty Electric Cooperative also went to the scene, and Intercounty workers stopped power from running through the cable and quickly replaced it with new cable.

The home was upwind from the blaze and was spared.

Even before that fire was completely out, calls came in regarding three more in the county – one on Highway AA west of Houston, one on Cloverdale Road south of Simmons and another off of Grand Avenue north of the Texas County Justice Center.

Houston Rural personnel headed for Cloverdale Road where a brush pile was reportedly on fire near a home, while the MDC crew tended to the Strawberry Road situation. Meanwhile, the Roby Fire Department responded to the woods fire near Highway AA and City of Houston firefighters responded to the fire in the woods just north of town off of Mineral Drive.

At about 4:45 p.m., Houston Rural firefighters responded to another fire caused by a power cable downed by a fallen tree on Hawkeye Road east of Houston. That blaze was reportedly spreading through forested land.

Houston Rural Chief Don Gaston said his department received a total of six calls during the outbreak, and was able to respond to four. Gaston said three brush trucks, a pumper truck and about 10 men were busy at the different locations.

Just before heading into the woods off of Mineral Drive, Jon Cook – who works with both Houston fire departments – said it seemed like every department in the county was busy.

“Everyone we’ve called for assistance was already on a fire,” Cook said. “We called Cabool for help in the one south of town, but they had already been called by Mountain Grove, and we called Roby but they were on one, too.

“It’s crazy out there.”

Gaston said it had been years since a similar outbreak had occurred.

“Cabool had a couple fires going, Roby had a couple going and Licking had several going,” he said. “Everybody was involved, but somehow it just worked out.”

Gaston said firefighters returned to the Cloverdale Road location early Thursday evening and again Friday afternoon, after that blaze rekindled. He said the cause was remnants of a brush pile burn from a few days earlier.

He said the cause of the Roby and Mineral Drive fires was unknown.

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