Wind drives fire very close to homes, man cited for illegal burning

Firefighters from all over the county came to the aid of a neighborhood with a fire threatening about a half dozen homes, and spreading fast. All volunteers, firefighters came from Devine VFD, LaCoste VFD, and Lytle Fire Dpt. to assist Natalia VFD on this weekday fire, which are the hardest to fight with limited numbers of volunteers on workdays. It spread rapidly across about 12 acres around 12:52 pm on Tuesday, January 18, just north of Natalia on County Road 679.
“We are very fortunate that a bunch of the homeowners were home and they started helping fight fire with their garden hoses as we targeted the head of the fire. One person was cited for illegal burning. The wind was a big factor that day, and the fire got very close to the skirting of some of those homes,” said Natalia VFD Assistant Chief Gilbert Rodriguez.
“Medina County is not like San Antonio, where you have paid fire departments,” Rodriguez said. “We are volunteers.” It’s a definite reminder to citizens and new residents of the importance to join your local fire department if you are able, because when it comes to fires like this, our communities depend on volunteer firefighters.
He is grateful that fortunately, volunteer firefighters from many different departments and homeowners all worked together to save the homes.

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“If you would like to volunteer at Natalia VFD, join us at the fire station on Monday evenings at 7 pm. We are located at 211 Pearson Street. We can always use the help, especially during those weekday fires,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez recommends keeping vegetation and grass very short within 10 feet of a home especially when it’s dry like it is now.
Call first..
Rodriguez also stated that residents in Medina County MUST call 830-741-6153 before doing a controlled burn to make sure it is not a “no burn” day due to weather conditions. This applies to controlled burns in open fields or brush piles for example. You may face charges for illegal burning otherwise.
If you are interested in joining other area departments:
LaCoste VFD meets every Tuesday night at 7pm
Lytle Fire meets every Monday at 7 pm at the station at 15078 Main Street
Devine VFD meets Mondays and Thursdays at 7 pm (but on the first Monday of the month is the business meeting)
Natalia VFD meets Mondays at 7pm at 211 Pearson St.
Bigfoot VFD meets the first Thursday of every month at 7pm
Moore VFD meets on Mondays at 7 pm
Just show up and see what it’s all about. Volunteer firefighters and volunteers of all ages and abilities are needed to help with paperwork and providing refreshments and training are always a great need in our community.
Not only do they fight fires, but volunteer firefighters are also the heroes holding the Jaws of Life when someone is trapped inside a car or truck in a wreck, doing everything they can to help at those scenes as well.
By Kayleen Holder