Bonfire Burns; Crews Work to Prevent Forest Fire

The sixth off-campus, student-run bonfire did burn in Robertson County Tuesday night, but not before a slight delay. Plus, there was a bit of a scramble by fire officials to keep a forest fire from starting.

The event, not sanctioned by Texas A&M, was originally scheduled for this past Saturday, but was put on hold when county commissioners enacted a burn ban due to low rainfall recently. However, on Monday, commissioners decided to lift the ban, and the burn was rescheduled for the next day.

The stack was lit around 8:30 p.m., a bit later than was originally scheduled. Buses loaded with attendees continued arriving at the burn site up until the ceremony.

As is tradition, senior red pots gathered to light torches, led their girlfriends and mothers around the unlit stack, then tossed those torches on the gas-soaked stack of logs, which were engulfed in flames within seconds.

It was minutes later that Robertson County fire officials determined they had a potential problem on their hands, as winds began carrying embers from the raging stack yards into a nearby forested area.

Onlookers on that side of the bonfire had already scrambled away as the embers and even small pieces of the stack had apparently flown into the crowd. It did not appear as though there were any injuries as a result.

Fire crews then made their way over with tanker trucks and began dousing the trees with water. Other trucks made their way to the middle of the forest to try and head off the embers before anything sparked.

No fires looked to have begun as a result, but as the stack started to die down, firefighters remained on that side of stack to be sure nothing got out of hand.

This was the second bonfire held in Robertson County at that particular site, which was off of Pin Oak Road in the southern portion of the county near Hearne.

Since the 1999 collapse of the on-campus stack, the university has not sanctioned the event, which symbolizes Aggies coming together in preparation for the University of Texas football game.

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