TFS UPDATE: Bear Creek Fire destroys 66 homes - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TFS UPDATE: Bear Creek Fire destroys 66 homes

Released by The Texas Forest Service:

NORTHEAST TX - Official assessments made by volunteers from the American Red Cross, in aid of Marion and Cass Counties, have determined the number of homes lost as a result of the Bear Creek Fire to be approximately 66 primary residences.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of homes suffered by our friends and neighbors in Marion and Cass Counties. Judge McMichael and I are seeking emergency aid funding in the hope that we can provide some relief for our homeless citizens, said Marion County Judge Phil Parker.

In an effort to help, locals have dated 8,000 cases of Gatorade, 10,000 cases of water, and countless amounts of clothes and personal hygiene items in support of the firefighters. Locals have also donated $3000 in cash to help displaced families in need.

"The amount of donated items coming in to support the firefighters and the displaced families is unprecedented. This is another amazing example of the generosity of the people of Cass and Marion Counties and their eagerness to help in times of need," added Judge Parker.

The Northeast Texas Fire Complex currently consists of the Magnolia Complex located east of Longview in Gregg County and the Bear Creek Fire located east of Avinger in Marion and Cass Counties. Firefighters and aerial resources are also responding to a number of new starts in the area.

The Magnolia Complex is 4,909 acres and 100% contained; this complex includes the Moore, Locker Plant and Old Magnolia Fires. Three engines and three dozers remain assigned to the complex for mop-up operations. There was a 17-acre slopover on the Old Magnolia Fire near the community of White Oak late yesterday. Firefighters were successful in containing the slopover.

The Bear Creek Fire has been determined to be 40,548 acres in size as a result of more accurate mapping. The fire is now 80% contained. Crews have made good progress with completing line around the perimeter of the fire. Crews are continuing to work on the sections of line in the northwest and southeast corners of the fire.

Fixed wing aircraft with water scoopers (Canadair CL-215s) and several helicopters were utilized to cool interior hot spots on the Bear Creek Fire. Four Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) were available to make retardant drops as needed throughout the day. Most of the aircraft was utilized for initial attack efforts on the I-20 fire east of Marshall.

Projected changes in wind direction will increase the risk of spotting on the northern edges of the fire. Flare-ups have been continuing with the hot temperatures and low humidity. Numerous snags in the area make night operations challenging and more dangerous for the firefighters. Reburn potential within the fire area is high, as unburned fuels can rekindle and threaten homes in the area.

Red Cross Shelter & Disaster Assistance

The American Red Cross has established a public shelter in the City of Jefferson located at the Visitor Center, 305 E. Austin Street. Contact (903) 655-7220 for additional information. The public shelter is tentatively scheduled to be closed on Tuesday, September 13, unless there is a need to keep it running. The Red Cross, in cooperation with a number of community organizations, will be opening a Volunteer Organization Disaster Assistance Center at the First United Methodist Church, 305 West Henderson in the City of Jefferson. The center will open at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, September 12.

Donations for Firefighters

The American Red Cross and the NE Texas Resource Advisory Council (RAC-F) and the Good Shepherd Medical Center (Linden) is working with local residents to disburse donated items to the firefighters. Contact Bertha Evans at (903) 235-8835 for additional information.

Recovery & Needed Donations for Displaced Animals

Additional Texas Animal Health Service inspectors have been called in to help with the recovery of animals within the Bear Creek Fire area. Shelter and feed is being provided for the displaced animals. Anyone wanting to donate feed is being asked to contribute round hay, square hay, cubes and other feed for horses and cattle. Location for animal feed is at the Linden Rodeo Arena on State Hwy 8 in Linden. Volunteers are also helping locate stray pets and providing temporary shelter. Currently, 6 horses, 17 dogs and 21 cats are waiting to be claimed by their owners. Two animal fatalities include one emu and one cow.

Texas Animal Health Service is working with AgriLife from the Linden County Extension Service; AgriLife will be relieving some of the current workers by providing people to help with the recovery effort. Please contact Eddie Hayes at (903) 277-3979.

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