A 1,700-acre controlled burn at a wildlife refuge in Aransas County was likely the source of smoke and haze in Victoria County on Tuesday.

“If anyone is wondering, (Aransas National Wildlife Refuge) is running a controlled burn,” said Victoria County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo, reading from a Texas A&M Forest Service bulletin.

According to the wildlife refuge’s Facebook page, the burn’s goal was to “restore coastal prairie habitat by reducing invasive woody species.”

In downtown Victoria, the odor of smoke was distinct, and a thin layer of haze could be seen just above the horizon.

Controlled burn sends up giant smoke plume

A controlled burn sent plumes of smoke into the sky at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday.

A driver also reported thick smoke near the community of Guadalupe, just south of Victoria.

Nevertheless, sheriff’s offices and fire departments elsewhere in the Crossroads reported no such conditions.

Although Castillo was unsure of the source of the smoke at Guadalupe, he said Victoria County remains under a burn ban.

Despite the ban, which requires fires to be contained in covered barrels, firefighters were dispatched to a grass fire near Nursery about 3:45 p.m. that burned about four acres, Castillo said.

Trash fire burns out of control

Members of the Victoria County Volunteer Fire Department extinguish hot spots after a grass fire was brought under control on McCormick Drive. Four homes were threatened before the volunteer fire department could get it under control. A handful of outbuildings were lost in the blaze, but no homes were damaged and no injuries were reported.

The person who started that fire would likely be fined for failing to contain the fire, he said.

No people were injured, and no structures were damaged, Castillo said.

No fires were reported in Calhoun County on Tuesday, a Port Lavaca Fire Department official said.

But a Goliad County sheriff’s representative said she had received several calls Tuesday evening reporting smoke and haze.

Castillo said it is not unusual for smoke to drift across one or more counties with the proper weather conditions.

He also said the turbulent nature of hot air and coastal winds in the area mean smoke can disperse in a highly unpredictable manner.

Trash fire burns out of control

The homeowner at 604 McCormick Drive renders aid to his pit bull, Fat Boy, after the dog became overheated. The dog had been put in a truck after fire crews arrived to battle a grass fire on the property.

According to the National Weather Service, winds in Victoria County were blowing from the south at 13 mph.

Castillo said the smoke would likely only pose a danger to those with serious breathing problems.

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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