Magnified Sunlight Through Glass Bottles in Trash Can Sparked PK 1148 Wildfire – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

2022-07-30 02:46:42 By : Ms. Carly Chen

Fire investigators say sunlight magnified through a glass bottle in a trash can sparked the 1148 Fire in Palo Pinto County earlier this month.

Chief Bonnie Watkins with the Possum Kingdom West Side Volunteer Fire Department said in an open letter that she began investigating the cause of the fire on the second day of the fire, July 19.

Watkins said a trash can was found packed with party trash, food, paper goods and glass bottles near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 1148 and Hawkins Road was where the fire began.

A wind gust is believed to have blown the lid off the can, exposing the bottles and paper goods to sunlight.

"The sunlight was magnified through the glass bottles till it reached ignition temperature. Once ignited the fire built rapidly. It vented out the side and top of the trash can causing nearby cedar trees to ignite," Watkins wrote in her open letter.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the 1148 Fire burned approximately 457 acres and destroyed five homes near Possum Kingdom Lake.

Watkins said the accidental fire could have been prevented in a couple of different ways. In one way, a large rock or other weight could have been placed on top of the can preventing the lid from being blown off. Another way would be to separate the trash, putting glass bottles into a different container that didn't also contain combustible material.

"This would have prevented the sun from magnifying heat through the glass bottles in the first place thus removing the ignition source and stopping the fire," Watkins wrote.

Watkins warned that trash fires have also been started by people placing hot coals, oily rags, fireworks, tightly packed garden waste and hot ashes in with other trash.

"The Texas fire season is not over yet folks so let’s all continue to be vigilant. If you see signs of a fire don’t assume someone else has already called 911. The faster we arrive on scene the less chance the fire will turn into a disaster," Watkins said.