Grass Fires Burn Across East Texas

The dry and windy conditions have sparked grass fires all over East Texas. Three major grass fires broke out and continue to burn this afternoon.   The first, started around 8:30 this morning in Lindale off County Road 4165.  Forty acres went up in flames.   Then, at 12:30 p.m. another grass fire broke out in Noonday off FM 2868.  More than a hundred acres burned there.   Perhaps the biggest fire happened in Van Zandt County in the Midway community. More than 100 acres burned right off Highway 64 West.   The wind carried that fire near several homes miles away from where the fire started. Sonnia and Robert Hill were sitting at home when they noticed smoke outside.

"We could come out and see the ashes and we could see it blowing," said Sonnia Hill, nearby homeowner "Unfortunetly, the wind was blowing against our favor. It was coming from the South to the North, and it was coming right through all the trees into our back pasture where the barn is." The Hills live deep in the winds, surrounded by only trees. Not knowing just how far the flames were, they decided to get help.

"We went out and went to the Midway Fire Department where they were all meeting and told them there was a house here in case they didn't know," said Sonnia Hill.

"Here it's like, here we are somebody," said Robberty Hill.  It didn't take long for help to arrive.  Seven volunteer fire departments responded to this 100 acre fire. It took them about two hours to contain the blaze.

"We do have a foresty service on the scene with us that's using plows trying to get in there and give us a fire break," said Chuck Allen, Emergency Management Coordinator, Van Zandt County. Firefighters say they are not sure what started the fire, but witnesses think an 18 wheeler blew a tire, which sent a spark into the grass.

"It very easily could have," said Allen. "The vegetation is extremely dry." The Hills say they're thankful firefighters could get there in time.

"We're so grateful for the volunteer effort," said Sonnia.

"It's nice to know we are not on our own," said Robert. No injuries have been reported from any of the grass fires today. Firefighters in Van Zandt County say today's fire is likely just one of many to come this hot and dry summer season.

Molly Reuter, reporting.