Mother nature could be helpful in putting out blaze - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Mother nature could be helpful in putting out blaze

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

HAWKINS, TX (KLTV) - A massive fire began Monday night and is still ablaze.

The EPA said with help from the TCEQ, they hope to have the fire out sometime Tuesday evening. They are urging people to stay away from the area. They're bringing in contractors to break up this fire, and create lanes for fire crews to get in, apply foam to the site, and get it extinguished.

Officials estimate that around 500,000 tires are in the area. The focus, now, is to make sure residents are safe and that they're air is safe to breathe.

"We've been saying for years if that place ever caught on fire...it would light up the night sky in Hawkins," said Lora Merritt, the associate director of The Gardens, an assisted living facility.

Nearly 1500 square feet of land full of tires was completely engulfed. It burned all night. Three Hawkins ISD buses rolled up to evacuate nearly 30 of Merritt's residents Tuesday morning.

"Hopefully we won't have this problem again," said Merritt.

Meanwhile, just down the road, Hawkins fire firefighters regrouped.

"There's hardly no way we can extinguish the fire at this point," said Rick Wilson with the Hawkins Fire Department. 

"The City of Hawkins has responded beautifully," said Eric Delgado, with the EPA. "There came a time when they decided they did not have the resources...and they reached up and asked for help."

Delgado said the EPA has been monitoring air particles.

"When you see the black smoke, that's incomplete combustion," explained Delgado.

It is dangerous carbon monoxide which could pose a greater risk in the morning.

"See the smoke is going up top," Delgado asked me. "When it's morning, it's cooler...that smoke starts to settle down and starts getting into the area."

A little help from mother nature could be a big help.

"It'll capture the particulates in the water and deposit it down," he explained.

But it could be too much of a good thing.

"As this weather deteriorates and this rain comes down it's going to force this smoke to a lower altitude and it's going to cause it to be a bit more hazardous," explained Wilson.

A delicate balance.

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