Suspected arsonist turns up heat on Palo Pinto

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 21 at 10:35 PM

PALO PINTO -- At least nine fires in two weeks have fire officials in Palo Pinto County convinced that someone, not something, is threatening homes and property.

Most of the fires have been within a few miles of town along Highway 180.

Charlie Sims, the county's assistant fire marshall, said some of the fires are flaring up within hours of each other.

"There is no reason for them to start and there is no evidence of anything [natural] that could start the fires," Sims said.

The blazes are small, only one to two acres usually, and so far have only scorched grassland and some trees.

But with the Texas winds picking up and warmer temperatures fast approaching, Sims said it might not be long before one whips out of control.

"There just is no reason for them to start," he said. " We're concerned."  

Nearly two years ago, the same area was ravaged when 120,000 acres and more than 150 homes were destroyed in the Possum Kingdom Complex Fire.

Town residents like James Lyon remember it all too well. Some were forced to evacuate.

"Jumping the road and such. It got a little nerve wrecking," he said.

News that one or more people may be intentionally setting fires that could threaten the town are what he and others don't want to hear.

Authorities have received a couple of tips, but nothing that has led to any arrests so far.

Anyone with any information can contact the Palo Pinto Sheriff's Office at (940) 659-2085 or the fire marshall at (940) 325-5762.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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