Smith County fire forces evacuations near FM 850 - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Smith County fire forces evacuations near FM 850

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV)- A fire that ignited near several Smith County oil wells is now 80% contained.

This fire broke out around 4 p.m. Thursday in the woods near FM 850 and County Road 2301, near the New Chapel Hill community

The smoke could  be seen from miles away, but a clear path to this fire was not easy to find.

Because of the location, Donna Storch from the Texas Forest Service, said this fire was more dangerous than most

"There are some pipelines and oil wells and those always present a little bit of a hazard, especially to the bulldozer operators so safety wise we have to be really careful with those structures," Storch said.

Officials said the whole fire spanned about 100 acres and was 50% percent contained within a few hours. While evacuations were ordered, no homes were lost.

"We have volunteer fire departments on the scene and they're providing standby for structure protection incase that's needed," Storch said.

Volunteer departments and three dozers were brought in, as well a familiar chopper dropping water from the sky and an aero-tech plane that surveyed the heavily wooded area.
Then crews got a little unexpected aid...

"I'd like to especially thank Mrs. Pryors third grade class from Wiley Elementary. They delivered a half a pickup load of food, snacks, water and Gatorade for the fire fighters," said Storch.

Something crews said they greatly appreciated as the sun set and they began, once again, to work into the night.

Officials said they still don't know what caused this fire. That investigation will continue Friday  morning.

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