Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - July 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Firefighters brave scorching heat, control blaze
Houston County Courier, July 2009
By Daphne Hereford
Firefighters from six departments worked tirelessly in scorching temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees on Sunday afternoon, July 12 to battle a 75-acre blaze on Hwy. 21 west.
“Fire danger remains very high to extreme throughout Houston County and all of east Texas. Live fuel moistures are critically low. This means even green vegetation can burn easily. Conditions are not expected to improve despite the slight chance of some precipitation this weekend. Houston County and all the surrounding counties are currently under a burn ban,” said Michael Easley with the Texas Forest Service.
Firefighters from Austonio, Porter Springs, Latexo, Lovelady Crockett volunteer fire departments along with two, two-man wildland dozer fire fighter crews from the Texas Forest Service, Houston County Fire Marshal and Houston County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 3:15 p.m. call.
According to reports, a hay baler ignited the raging fire which quickly spread from the hay meadow into a pine plantation containing 20 foot young trees on the Mosley Ranch, which is located about 15 miles from Loop 304.
Authorities said about 20-30 firefighters worked diligently to control the perimeter of the blaze while the Texas Forest Service plowed a line around the fire to keep it contained to a specific area.
Officials said the fact there was not much wind really helped firefighters in their efforts to control the fire.
Firefighters said the flames of the blaze reached heights of 50-60 feet.
Authorities said no injuries were reported as a result of the fire.
According to Houston County Fire Marshal David Lamb, citizens should exercise extreme caution during this time when temperatures are hovering around triple digits and foliage is so dry.
Lamb said as of Monday, July 13, the Keech Byron Drought Index (KBDI) was at 703, an unusually high number.
The KBDI is a system that measures the moisture in vegetation and predicts the effect fire will have within specific ranges.