July 14, 2020

Wind turbine blamed for Rhodes Ranch 3 Fire in Mulberry Canyon south of Merkel

A motor on a wind turbine caught fire and is blamed for sparking a wildfire Monday in Mulberry Canyon in southwest Taylor County that has burned about 250 acres.

The Texas A&M Forest Service was called about 6:30 p.m. Monday to assist several volunteer fire departments to fight the wildfire northwest of the intersection of FM 89 and County Road 351. The area is about 26 miles southwest of Abilene.

By Tuesday afternoon, the fire was 60 percent contained, according to the forest service website. No structures have been burned, said forest service spokeswoman Mary Leathers.

Fighting the fire is a challenge because of the “very rough” terrain near the wind turbine that had caught fire, she said. Monday’s record temperatures, which reached 109 in Abilene, acerbated the firefighters’ efforts.

“The fire’s up on those ridge lines, and then it burned down into a little bowl, a little canyon area,” Leathers said. “So, that’s why it’s kind of tedious work getting there because there are some areas where the bulldozers can’t get so we’re having to look at natural features to hold the fire.”

 

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