A large grass fire that spread into a Balch Springs neighborhood Monday afternoon resulted in nine homes being completely destroyed and 17 homes being damaged.
The fire is believed to have started when workers struck debris while mowing a large field on the northwest corner of Interstate 20 and South Belt Line Road, according to Balch Springs Fire Marshal Sean Davis.
The fire then spread into an adjacent neighborhood where it first burned fences and then spread to homes along the 14700 block of Broadview Drive. Wind speeds on Monday in Balch Springs were between 15 and 20 miles per hour, contributing to the spread of the fire and resulting in a total of three acres of land being burned.
Officials are still investigating whether anyone is at fault.
On Monday, Davis said there were 14 structures with confirmed fire damage, but there may be as many as 20 with some damage. By Tuesday morning, Balch Springs Fire Chief Eric Neil confirmed that 26 homes were damaged, nine of which were deemed total losses.
The affected homes are near Mackey Elementary School in Balch Springs, just southeast of Dallas. The blaze caused approximately $6.06 million in property damage.
Fire officials responded to the grass fire at 3:17 p.m. on Monday, according to Neil. The fire marshal immediately ordered an evacuation of all homes and structures on Broadview Drive and Bell Manor Court.
The fire was contained by 7 p.m.
Balch Springs has only one brush truck and eight firefighters that work during the day, so fire crews from Dallas, Mesquite, Seagoville, and Sunnyvale assisted in containing the blaze.
The American Red Cross is working with Balch Springs Emergency Management to make arrangements for the families displaced by the fire. The Balch Springs Recreation Center is open and available for those impacted by the fire.
Donations for the affected families are being accepted at the Opal J. Smith Food Pantry.
Firefighters across North Texas have been battling fires that have destroyed dozens of homes in this summer’s dry and hot conditions.
As of July 21, Balch Springs was experiencing extreme drought, according to a weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of last Thursday, Dallas-Fort Worth was on a 47-day rain-free streak, and nearly 60% of Texas is experiencing an extreme drought.
Last week, North Texas was under a red flag warning for wildfires.