Fire chief: Possum Kingdom wildfire in Texas ignited by bottle-magnified sunlight

Wildfires Texas
Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 14:26:14-04

Fire officials in Texas said a wildfire that burned 500 acres and destroyed five homes was started after glass bottles magnified sunlight to ignite paper trash inside a trash can.

In a statement posted Tuesday on the department's Facebook, Possum Kingdom West Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bonnie Watkins said on July 19, the day after the fire began, she began investigating to find out where the fire originated from.

Through her investigation, Watkins said at Farm to Market Road 1148 and Hawkins Road, she found a trash can packed with paper goods, food and glass bottles.

According to Watkins, a wind gust opened the trash can lid, which allowed sunlight to magnify through the glass bottles until the trash ignited.

Watkins said that the fire then grew rapidly, spread over the trash can and ignited cedar trees nearby.

"Fire needs three elements to grow – oxygen, fuel and heat," Watkins said. "The wind provided the oxygen, the sun provided the heat and the loosely packed paper goods and food provided the fuel."

Watkins said it took crews until July 24 to contain the fire entirely.

The fire destroyed five homes, according to the Associated Press.

Fire crews across the state have had to battle several wildfires as they endure severe drought and temperatures soaring past 100 degrees, the news outlet reported.

Near Glen Rose, Texas, 16 homes were destroyed in the Chalk Mountain Fire near, the AP reported.