Bird causes wildfire near Longview - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Bird causes wildfire near Longview

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- A strange natural accident leads to a fire near the interstate in Gregg county today, but there was no humor in this, as it was threatening hotels less than a mile away. It started just before 11-this morning when a hunter, checking a deer stand, saw flames in a wooded area on the south side of I-20, just west of Estes parkway. Deep in the bottoms area off I-20, fire erupted and crews quickly rushed to try to contain it before it got to nearby homes.

"Concerns are wind changes and whether it was going to come back towards our area or not or just in general where it was at because we're surrounded by woods,"said area homeowner Gwen Modisette.

"Now especially with the conditions we've had here in east Texas these fires can spread so rapidly so our main goal is to get a quick attack on it," says Longview fire department battalion chief Roger Groves.

The fire trucks couldn't get through the dirt roads so only booster were used. The wind was blowing south, pushing the fire toward two hotels less than a mile away.

"If we would have got to a point where evacuations were a concern yes that would have been one of our tactics to do that" Groves says.

With so little equipment , fighting so much fuel, some prepared to get out.

"I do get a little panicky, I do have a suitcase packed up just in case," Modisette says.

Another problem was forest service plows are all occupied elsewhere, but area landowners volunteered theirs to cut plow lines. As crews doused the blaze, they were surprised at the cause. Investigators believe a buzzard landed on a power line, was electrocuted, then fell to the ground catching the grass on fire. Around 3 acres were torched, but thanks to the boosters and volunteer plows, it was totally doused.

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