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Authorities launch arson investigation into recent roadside fire near Alpine

Crews respond to the Roadside Park Fire in Brewster County on April 27, 2024.
Texas A&M Forest Service
Crews respond to the Roadside Park Fire in Brewster County on April 27, 2024.

A wildfire that broke out near a roadside picnic area just west of Alpine in late April is being investigated as a potential case of arson, authorities confirmed this week.

The fire burned about 33 acres along U.S. 90 on April 27 before being contained. In a Facebook post that day, the Alpine Fire Department described it as a “fast-moving” fire that was “stopped quickly” with the help of local and state crews.

“We did find something that indicated that it was not an accident,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said Monday.

Dodson declined to say more about the ongoing criminal investigation, but said no arrests had been made.

Law enforcement with the Texas A&M Forest Service are assisting in the investigation, a spokesperson for the entity said.

The incident is not the first time that authorities have suspected arson as a cause of a roadside fire in recent months.

As the Big Bend Sentinel has reported, authorities launched an arson investigation late last year into four roadside fires that broke out within days of each other in nearby Jeff Davis County.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, that investigation remains active. But Jim Fowler, a spokesperson with the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department, said investigators were not initially able to “rule in or rule out arson” within the first few weeks of the fires breaking out.

“It’s very hard to determine a fire start in many cases,” he said.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.