Drilling Rig Fire at Village Creek State Park Contained, May Take Days To Extinguish

Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov

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AUSTIN – Authorities estimate it could take 10 days or more to extinguish a natural gas drilling rig fire that started yesterday in the southeastern corner of Village Creek State Park in Hardin County near Lumberton.

Oil field firefighting experts with Boots and Coots are working to put out the blaze. Meanwhile, they and rig operator Choice Exploration have arranged 24/7 security and EMS service at the incident site, located in a remote area about 2.5 miles southeast of the park headquarters.

Boots and Coots now plans to drill two water wells in order to provide adequate support to fight the fire. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has tested the air quality at the rig site and in the camping loop of the park and found normal conditions.

Fire intensity continues to push the smoke plume high, although no smoke or residue is settling in state park camping areas. some park visitors are nonetheless leaving due to the noise. Even at two miles, the fire can be clearly heard, described by some as a jet engine sound.

The Lumberton fire department and Texas Forest Service remain on call but are not on site. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department park peace officers and other staff likewise remain on call.

The burning rig created a wildfire that was extinguished yesterday, burning about 50 acres of brush and trees. The Texas Forest Service bulldozed a firebreak around the rig to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading.

The state park remains open to the public for business as usual, except that the park’s Water Oak Trail and associated Yaupon Loop Trail nearest to the fire location are closed to the public until the fire is put out.

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