Grass Fires Destroy Hundreds Of Acres In East Texas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/24/05-Cherokee County

Grass Fires Destroy Hundreds Of Acres In East Texas

The lack of rain and high winds today caused hundreds of acres to burn this afternoon. Local volunteer fire departments were busy fighting grass fires all day. First, a fire in Henderson County burned more than 50 acres. It started around 12:00 p.m. off of Highway 31 and County Road 1803, just East of Murchison. The biggest, happened in the town of Mixon where more than 200 acres went up in flames. That fire started around 1:45 County Road 3052 and 4916. That's on the border of Smith and Cherokee county.

It only took a spark to start a field on fire in Henderson County. Six volunteer fire departments responded to the fire, but when they got there it had already spread several acres. Those that lived nearby jumped in to help, throwing dirt on the fire and pouring water. The fire started in a barrel. After hearing the burn ban had been lifted this morning in Henderson County, Shannon Myers decided to burn some of his trash.

"Just some paper, like out of the kitchen, out of the trash," said Myers. "It was just a little bit. I guess the wind caught it or something It wasn't even blowing that bad when I opened it up, but I guess it went up." Firefighters say it doesn't take much for a fire to get out of control.

"It just takes one little old spark and a gust of wind," said Assistant Fire Chief Lance West of the Murchison Volunteer Fire Department. "As dry as this ground is, I mean, it don't take nothing. It could have been a lot worse than it was. We had five or six houses in danger."

A small brush fire in Cherokee County caused 200 acres to go up in flames. Firefighters say a mobile home was destroyed in the fire, and the blaze came all the way up to a house, burning the fence. It took seven volunteer fire departments to get it under control. Firefighters say right now, no one should be burning anything. "We can't stress how bad it is," said West. "It's dry and I mean we are way behind on our water. I don't think we should have fireworks going on New Year's Eve because that's just going to make it worse."

Officials say, if you do decide to burn, remember to watch it carefully because it doesn't take much for this to happen. Officials from both fires say no life threatening injuries occurred.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

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