A second wildfire in Cement Valley burned up hayfields and a number of bales of hay Jan. 20. No one was hurt and no buildings were destroyed, officials said.
The Midlothian Fire Department responded to a call at 12:45 p.m. in the 4900 block of Weatherford Road and found a fire racing north through dry grass and fields.
"Apparently there was a teenager out there who got bored and decided to burn some paper," Midlothian Fire Chief David Schrodt said. "The fire got into some grass, he tried to stomp it out - that didn't work. Then he went to get a garden hose and it burst on him. By that time the fire had spread, the wind got in it and it was gone."
Schrodt said a south wind pushed the fire from Weatherford Road to Miller Road.
"We made a stand at Miller Road," Schrodt said. "It actually jumped Miller Road in several places, but our guys were ready and got it out at that point."
Schrodt said firefighters from Midlothian were on the scene for more than four hours fighting the blaze and putting out hotspots.
"Fortunately, no one was hurt and no homes or outbuilding were destroyed," Schrodt said. "The only loss was about 80 to 100 round bales belonging to a Mr. Hockett."
The fire burned about 35 acres, with Schrodt saying the incident has been turned over to the Ellis County Fire Marshal's Office for investigation.
Ellis County is under a 90-day burn ban, which prohibits any outdoor burning.
Previously, a fast-moving fire whipped through Cement Valley west of Midlothian on Jan. 10, burning up a small outbuilding and about 50 bales of hay. That fire started with a person burning trash in a barrel.
The fire began at about 3 p.m. between Buffalo Hills Road and Red Bird Road with a strong wind out of the north pushing it toward Miller Road. Firefighters from six departments spent more than two hours trying to get the blaze under control.
Sunday's blaze saw a response from 10 firefighting vehicles and crews from Venus, Ovilla, Cedar Hill and Waxahachie.
"It is so dry and the grass is dead and so tall," Schrodt said. "It is foolish to start a fire outdoors at this point and time. People need to remember we are under a burn ban for a reason."
Violation of the burn ban is a class C misdemeanor. The burn ban's provisions indicate that it will be enforced, with citations issued at the discretion of a peace officer and or fire chief and prosecution through the justice of the peace courts.
"This doesn't mean you can't cook on a contained grill at your home," Schrodt said. "It does mean people have to be very careful with any kind of fire right now.
"And, as always," Schrodt added, "we want to remind people that if they are responsible for starting a fire that harms somebody or destroys property, they are liable for their actions."
The burn ban is in effect for a 90-day period, pending any significant rainfall and removal by another vote by commissioners.