Diana fire forcing evacuations - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Diana fire forcing evacuations

UPDATE 9/6/11 4:30pm: The Diana fire has jumped Hwy 154 and is now burning both north and south of Hwy 155.

About eight fire departments and several civilians are working to fight the blaze.

Authorities are now evacuating residents on Finch Road between Hwy 154 and FM 726.

We're told, earlier Tuesday morning, the fire was about 85% contained, however, due to high winds, that number is closer to 50% now.

UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Evacuations are underway as multiple departments battle a thousand acre wildfire in Diana in Upshur County.

Authorities say flames are threatening dozens of homes near FM 1650, where the fire jumped the roadway earlier Monday afternoon.

KLTV 7 News was with the fire crews as they fought the flames from the front line.

We went behind the fire line with Diana volunteer firefighter Travis Zappa. He's been fighting the flames since Sunday morning. As we moved closer to the head of the fire, we passed hundreds of acres of scorched trees.

Residents used rakes to put out spot fires. So far, three structures have burned, one of those homes was on a property on Gardenia Street. There is nothing left there. The fire took everything he owned.

"All we're trying to do is protect the homes and structures and get people out, said Upshur County Sheriff Anthony Betterton.

Thick smoke billowed above the tree line near FM 1650 where Monday morning authorities evacuated residents. The fire moved rapidly; crews were even asked to move to a safer area.

Moments later, fast flames shot through the trees, engulfing power lines. The fire jumped FM 1650, forcing more evacuations.

"My brother's at that house and I'm concerned about him," said MacArthur Harris. "I've been fighting the fire over here off of 1750."

MacArthur Harris is one of many residents volunteering to help fight this fire. Back at the command post, we met dozens of others spending Labor Day trying to save their town.

"It's devastating to see all of this I've never been in anything like this," said Harris.

There has been one injury reported in the Diana fire. A man fighting a fire suffered third degree burns on his arms.

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