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MARBLE FALLS — A grassfire Aug. 17 about five miles east of town left firefighters already busy trying to control an earlier blaze stretched thin, officials said.

Crews monitoring the remnants of a massive fire near Texas 71 and U.S. 281 in south Burnet County received a call for a new blaze near Camp Peniel about 11 a.m., nearly 15 miles away.

Firefighters have been rushing to the 71/281 blaze and flare-ups four miles south of Marble Falls since Aug. 12. Some have stayed there overnight.

“We definitely didn’t need this (1431 fire),” said Mike Phillips, assistant chief of the Marble Falls Volunteer Fire Department at the Herbert Ranch command center near 71/281.

The Aug. 17 call involved a fire at 6716 RR 1431 East, just outside the Christian youth camp. No injuries and no evacuations were reported at the blaze.

The fire only involved about 4 acres, but firefighters said resources were already stretched thin due to the 370-acre blaze at 71/281 that continues to smolder.

Officials said a spark from crews cutting rebar for a guardrail may have triggered the blaze on 1431.

Several Marble Falls volunteers, Granite Shoals Fire Department and United States Fish and Wildlife Service units were at the Herbert Ranch fire, which flared up again Aug. 16 around 4 p.m.

The first responders at the 71/281 blaze near the Foxwood subdivision used bulldozers to cut a wider line when the fire rekindled by crossing fallen trees. Fire crews used a back burn to contain the blaze once more, robbing it of fuel.

Meanwhile, Phillips began requesting assistance from other agencies, including Cottonwood Shores, to go to 1431.

Burnet County has a north and south fire task force made up of departments in those areas. Both can be called to assist in any part of the county and even in the region when needed.

“We had guys from the south side (of Burnet County) on that fire all night and I knew they were all tired,” said Terry White, chief the Marble Falls volunteers. “So I had the north (Burnet County) task force activated for this fire.”

This is not the first time such a strategy has been used, especially as the state’s worst drought in decades continues with triple-digit temperatures.

During a wildfire that scorched 470 acres about two miles northeast of Burnet Aug. 8, units from both the south and north task forces rushed to the blaze, as well as agencies from outside Burnet County.

White said situations such as the one encountered Aug. 17 can strain resources and personnel.

The Camp Peniel fire, however, was contained to some degree by manmade boundaries including RR 1431 and a road and dirt parking lot, White said.

Since May, firefighters have battled three blazes in Burnet County involving 250 acres or more.

On May 29, units battled the 280-acre Summit Ridge blaze just east of Burnet. Officials said at the time sparks from a train may have triggered that conflagration, which led to the evacuation of thousands.

The cause of the Aug. 8 fire was undetermined, but Burnet County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Barho said there was a report of a trailer dragging a chain and throwing sparks.

As for the cause of the Aug. 12 Herbert Ranch blaze, officials said a bird struck a high-voltage line and fell to the ground, which started the fire.

Lexi Maxwell, a Texas Forest Service wildland urban interface specialist, said the conditions are so bad right now that it doesn’t take much to get a fire started.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the Highland Lakes — and most of Texas — remains under an exceptional drought.

According to officials, Texas is in the driest 10-month period in more than a century since data has been collected.