Grass Fires Burn Throughout County

High winds combined with dry grass created a volatile situation today. In Smith County alone, more than a dozen grass fires were reported. A bright East Texas sun was overshadowed today by the smoke of dozens of grass fires.

"We've been running from about one end of the county to the other," said Assistant Smith County Fire Marshall Connie McCoy.  "The wind was real calm this morning and I think people were thinking we weren't going to get high winds."

It was all firefighters could do to keep up with the calls, as Smith County Sheriff's Deputies even pitched in to help. A fire started outside Ricardo Tinajero's home near Tyler. The high winds meant he could only watch.

"I got the water hose and the sprayed the grass and everything," Tinajero said, "but I can't it was too fast."

Burning trash is thought to be the cause of the blaze, just like the one that split Lola Fisher's home on county road 492. With high winds even small fires can get out of hand.

"I called 911 and by the time I came back out it had got all on the other side of the house," said Fisher.

Both families were lucky.  Firefighters were able to save their homes. Mccoy says next time they may not be so lucky.

"If they'll watch the weather reports in the morning, usually you guys will tell us the wind will pick up during the day if it is please don't burn because we're running everywhere.  I can't even keep up with them today," said McCoy.

That's advice that could help keep the skies clear. Officials with the Texas Forest Service say it wasn't just Smith County that had problems today. They were working fires all over the area. They say until humidity levels go up or we get some rainfall, be extra careful when burning trash and brush.