Man jumps in to help fight fire

Wimberley resident Jesse Darnall used a tractor to deprive the brush fi re of dry grass “fuel.” PHOTO COURTESY OF JESSE DARNALL

Wimberley Fire

Driving down FM 2325 toward Jacob’s Well, it seemed like a normal day for Jesse Darnall, longtime Wimberley resident and owner of Darnall Diesel and Equipment. He had talked with a friend and was going to meet up with him for a late lunch.

When he arrived at Baulke Ranch, he stopped by the mailbox to get his friend’s mail. When he turned around, he saw a vehicle with the catalytic converter falling onto the road. He looked up and saw fire.

“The barbed wire fence was too high so I jumped up onto the Excursion and jumped over the fence and used my fire extinguisher to put out the fire. When the extinguisher ran out I grabbed the tractor,” Darnall said.

Thinking of the fires in Bastrop in 2011 and in California this year, he knew that stopping the fire meant getting rid of the fuel – the dried grass. He had keys for the tractor, which he had reconditioned after it went through the flood of 2015.

“There was 160 acres on fire and was near three houses that back up to Woodcreek North… It took a couple of hours, two or two and a half hours. There were times I couldn’t see. My eyes were burning, and I had to wait until the wind changed to get out.”

He did, and saved houses that the fire had coming within 30 feet of.

Darnall said the fire department stopped by, but once they saw things were being taken care of, went on to more crucial areas. “(They said) he has it under control, and they went to other fires.”

“It was scary and I was glad it was kept on the property, and no houses caught on fire…I do not consider myself a hero, I just jumped in. I would want someone to do the same for me if it was turned around.”

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666