It was a show of gratitude and appreciation. First responders, who battled wildfires that swept through east Parker County recently, were treated to a breakfast Wednesday at Fish Creek Restaurant in Willow Park
"Sometimes I think we take for granted what first responders do. We make assumptions," said Joe Lane, owner of the popular restaurant. "But to see them in action is an amazing thing."
So Lane and his staff decided they'd show their thanks with an appreciation breakfast that included an invitation to mayors from the surrounding area to pass along much-deserved thanks personally.
"It was a privilege to attend," said Mayor of Hudson Oaks, Pat Deen. "They did an outstanding job in saving not only lives, but no structures were damaged as I understand. This was a phenomenal effort and collaboration of multiple departments working together."
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Kit Marshall, Mayor of Aledo, praised first responders making similar remarks.
"We are so thankful for what first responders do. They didn't react - they responded. There's a huge difference," Marshall said. "Thanks to all agencies that were involved, not in just keeping east Parker County safe, but all of Parker County safe."
Zan Prince, Parker County Republican Chairwoman, said it was Parker County folks doing what comes naturally.
"It was pure Parker County," Prince said. "It was Parker County people running to help their neighbors, friend and even people they haven't met yet. First responders are on the edge, and they put their lives at risk for us every day. For that we honor them."
Why recent wildfires could just be the beginning
The volatile grass fires that forced the closure of Interstate 20 and Interstate 30 recently may just be the beginning.
“We’re talking anywhere west of Metroplex you could have some problems,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Huckaby said. “Right now it looks like the worst could be toward Graham and Possum Kingdom Lake but really we could see a fire anywhere with these dry conditions.”
There are some parallels with 2011, when wildfires devastated the Possum Kingdom Lake area.
As in 2011, there is plenty of vegetation from a wet year that suddenly turned dry, Huckaby said. Wildfires destroyed 167 homes around Possum Kingdom. As of last summer, 88 had been rebuilt.
The recent 2,153-acre grass fire was started by sparks from a power line near Willow Park. It quickly spread to the east, coming close to the new Walsh development in far west Fort Worth and burning up to the edge of Interstate 20.
Forecasters warn that the grass fire threat will probably stick around until spring, perhaps some time in March.
“This will probably come up once a week for the next couple of months,” Huckaby said.
Bill Hanna contributed to this report.