Evacuated residents allowed to return home after afternoon blaze - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Evacuated residents allowed to return home after afternoon blaze, warned of possibility of pop-up fires

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Residents of approximately 60 homes evacuated during Sunday afternoon's grass fire are now allowed to return home, after being evacuated shortly after noon due blaze, which spread to 350 acres.

Residents were forced to evacuate the area Sunday afternoon as the fires encroached on their backyards.

"It was terrifying," said resident Jamie Stegall. "Firefighters were down there at the end of the road telling us to get everything we had and telling us to get our pets and just grab what we could and just to go."

"There were flames coming up and coming up," said Jaden Mayfield. "We just came by and started letting people know that there was a fire."

"My mom got a call from several of the neighbors that there was a fire," said Reginald Mobley. "Then it was like two or three fires and all of the sudden it was like come get your stuff, everybody is getting evacuated."

While residents are now allowed back into the area, the area around the intersection of FM 2767 and FM 2908 outside of Jackson Heights remains closed to general traffic.

Authorities have told residents to keep an eye out for any pop up fires and to alert authorities immediately. Fire crews will remain on the scene throughout the night.

According to the Smith County Sheriff's Department, all sixteen Smith County fire departments battled multiple grass fires in the area of Farm to Market Road 2767 near Jackson Heights.

"Virtually every firefighter in the county was here either working it or in the staging area on standby," said Smith County Sheriff's Public Information Officer John Moore. "The wind certainly has unfortunately spread the fire and when it's this dry, it's fairly easy for the wind to do that."

At least one home on County Road 2908 burned to the ground, with reports of two other structures and multiple vehicles destroyed by fire.

Smith County Sheriff's officials also said two firefighters were treated on the scene for heat exhaustion. Residents are reminded that aburn ban is still in effect for Smith County.

"The big concern right now that everybody understand that there is no burning outside," said Moore. "Do not burn. The burn ban is in effect for a reason and this is serious. People could lose their homes, lose their lives."

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