|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - November 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
500 acres burned by pair of wildfires
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Whipped by high winds, two wildfires roared through the woods and pastures near Trinity last week as a small army of firefighters worked to control them. According to Trinity Fire Chief Hayne Huffman, the fires consumed about 500 acres of land, but the only structures that were destroyed included one long-vacant Lake L Acres mobile home and a hay barn. No injuries were reported as a result of the two fires. Huffman said the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department was called to the Lake L Acres subdivision about 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in response to a woods fire. That blaze was threatening a number of Lake L Acres homes and was burning across a pasture owned by Willard Hortman immediately west of the subdivision. “We were able to move our units into place to keep the fire away from the homes for the most part. It got up to the porch of one of the homes there in Lake L and burned a little of its siding, but we were able to knock the fire down quickly and only minimal damage was done,” he said. Huffman noted that at the north end of the Hortman pasture adjacent to Lake L, the burning trees looked like a solid wall of flames as the fire spread south through the tall grass of the pasture. At one point, the flames approached the residence of Hortman’s son, former Pct. 2 Constable Ricky Hortman, but Riverside firefighters lead to the scene by Trinity Police Chief Steven Jones managed to halt it only feet from the structure. As the fire moved closer to the residence, Jones joined the firefighters in battling the blaze. One hay barn located just north of the residence was burned to the ground, but other structures including the house were saved. A second, unrelated fire, broke out shortly after the TVFD arrived in Lake L, and Huffman said he had to divert equipment and men to the Pinecrest Estates area. A power line had fallen there and sparks had set fire to the dry grass the brush. Huffman said firefighters are not sure of what set off the Lake L Acres fire but he suspects it might have been a rekindling of a blaze that occurred earlier in October. That previous fire was touched off by a Lake L resident burning trash and burned through about 150 acres. He noted last week’s fire appeared to have begun where the earlier blaze ended and speculated that an ember may have been stirred up by the high winds that occurred on Oct. 28. The fire chief said those winds whipped both the Lake L and Pinecrest fire and sent them moving to the south and west and a fairly fast pace. “Because of the winds, the Pinecrest fire was jumping both unpaved county roads and a paved state highway. It was moving into the Trinity Plantation area. “We were quickly spread too thin and I had to call for assistance for other departments in Trinity, Houston, Walker and Polk counties. Before it was all said and done, we had units from 10 other departments, plus the Texas Forest Service, involved in fighting these fires,” Huffman said. He said all 11 of TVFD’s fire units together with 27 local firefighters were joined by 22 units and 50 firefighters from the surrounding area. While firefighters returned to put out “hot spots” that flared up over the weekend, they had the two fires out by about 9 p.m. Thursday. The two blazes never joined and only got to within about a mile of one another. “We are under both a city and county burn barn right now because of the extremely dry conditions. Fires can spread quickly so people need to be very careful,” Huffman advised. Thank you dinner Despite the burn ban, TVFD volunteers have been called to more than 50 fires during October. To show appreciation for this effort, a community “thank you” dinner was being planned for them this week to honor their work. Jamie Gentry, one of the organizers of the effort, said all local firemen and their wives, together with those from the other departments who assisted last week, will be treated to a dinner Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Trinity Community Center. Area churches have been raising funds to help cover the cost and Roland Kane of Trinity Café will cater the meal. “We are asking the community to help by providing homemade cakes and pies to be served to the firemen,” she said. Those who would like to donate a dessert or who would like to make a cash contribution to help cover the cost of the meal, may drop them off at the community center before 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. “Any money left over after we have covered the cost of the dinner will be donated to the Christmas Basket Program. So any donations will either benefit the local firemen and their families or will go to help needy families and children at Christmas,” she said.