|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Wildfires continue to race across area
San Jacinto News- Times
GROVETON – Firefi ghters from numerous agencies continue to battle the massive wildfi res in Trinity and Polk counties, while in Grimes County, dozens of homes have been burned and hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate. The fi res are among the largest ever recorded in the region, Texas Forest Service offi cials said. In Polk and Trinity counties the Bearing Fire has consumed more than 18,200 acres as of Monday. The blaze, which started Friday, was mostly in Trinity County and moving across county lines into Polk. As of Monday, two unoccupied homes and at least four trailers had been destroyed, though no evacuations were ordered. A Forest Service spokesman said the fi re started east of Groveton in Trinity County and then moved into Polk County, burning parts of the Davy Crockett National Forest and on private woodland. The fi re is being called the “Bearing Fire” because it started after a person hauling a trailer pulled off the road with a hot wheel bearing, which ignited dry grass nearby. In Grimes County, off Hwy. 105 between Conroe and Navasota, a judge ordered about 1,800 homes evacuated Monday afternoon when a 5,000- acre fire jumped a containment area. Evacuees were being sent to Navasota High School west of the blaze. According to the Texas Forest Service, at least 26 homes have been destroyed at Stoneham in a fi re that started Sunday, possibly from a barbecue grill. Part of Interstate 45, north of Huntsville, was closed Sunday afternoon because of a 1,000- acre fire in Walker County that led authorities to issue a mandatory evacuation of 200 homes at Midway. The interstate reopened by early evening. Other areas where people were advised to evacuate Sunday included about 500 homes in two subdivisions near Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper County. The 2,500-acre fire threatening subdivisions destroyed six camp houses. In Central Texas, at least en mobile homes were burned in a 150-acre Kendall County fire that also led to mandatory evacuations of a subdivision and a park for recreation vehicles, according to Texas Forest Service. “It’s important for East Texans to recognize the critical fire conditions we are experiencing,” said Karen Stafford, regional wildland urban interface coordinator for Texas Forest Service. “There is high probability of ignition if a spark occurs. Firefighters need the support of Texans to prevent new fire starts during this extremely hot and dry summer.” Since fire season began on Nov. 15, 2010, more than 12,189 fires have burned more than 3 million acres in Texas. Combined efforts of citizens taking proactive actions and a coordinated state response have saved more than 23,000 structures. Six of the 10 largest recorded fires in Texas history have occurred this year, according to Texas Forest Service records.