POLK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - It's being called the largest fire in East Texas history.
Authorities say the massive Bearing Fire is raging across several counties in Deep East Texas. At this point, the fire is only 40 percent contained.
From the air, it was easy to see the bearing fire. A plume of thick, gray smoke outlined the sprawling 18,000 acre blaze. Hovered above the haze, a spotter plane, directs three helicopters where to drop water.
There's going to be four helicopters working the area and that's our number one resource is those water drops. We can hit those hot spots real fast, get the fires knocked down, the flames knocked down," said John Warner, spokesperson for the Texas Forest Service.
About 800 feet above the ground, we watched as helicopters made several trips to retrieve water. Closer to the ground, and away from the smoke, thousands of acres are now charred. At only 40 percent contained, people's lives are at stake.
"Everything seems to still be pushing from the south, north. The majority of the winds this time of year are from the south to north, northeast, but it does switch and as evacuations are recommended, people do go door to door and recommend them to leave their property, take their valuables and go," said Warner.
Surrounded by burning timberlands, Bobby Conner says he and his neighbors are fighting to save what little they have left.
"We're not going to take credit for putting the fire out in the woods - we saved our own homes," said Conner.
We're told authorities are exhausting every resource to control what's described as the largest fire in East Texas history.