National help required in fighting blazing wildfire

LUBBOCK, Texas (KLBK/KAMC) - The Mallard wildfire in Armstrong County continued to grow on Sunday, with more fire departments responding to help. 

Texas A&M Forest Service responded on Tuesday when the fire started. Since then it has destroyed approximately 73,500 acres of land.

Other local fire departments to respond included Woodrow and Ransom Canyon Volunteer Fire Departments. 

As the flames grew, Texas A&M Forest Service said highly experienced firefighters from around the nation took control of the operation.

"It is a national response. There are people from all across the U.S. responding. I believe the red team, the type one team, they are from all over the U.S.," she said.

The type one team refers to firefighters with years of experience, qualifications, and training, she said.

"We are assisting them and hosting them, but they are essentially running that fire," said Paige Purvis, fire coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service. 

The fire was sparked by a lightning strike, said Purvis. The Texas A&M Forest Service, Amarillo office, responded initially. However, due to the complexity and size of the flames, they called in help from the Lubbock office, she said.

"Originally this Mallard fire was two separate fires. The first one the Lubbock office actually responded to was the Summerfield fire, which is about a thousand acres southeast of the Mallard fire. But pretty quickly, that burned into the Mallard fire and they became one," she said.

The Forest Service said one of the biggest battles is the weather. On Sunday, the weather conditions favored the firefighters.

"I do know the winds died down a little bit, and we had a little bit higher relative humidity today, so that's helping them get a handle on it," she said.

The Forest Service does not know when firefighters will be able to completely extinguish the fire, but will continue their efforts to contain it. 

While firefighters responded to the Mallard fire, departments from Oklahoma and Kentucky, as well as a unit with the Forest Service are on standby in Lubbock, said Purvis.

For updated information on the containment of the fire, follow @AllHazardsTFS on Twitter.

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