Firefighters Battle East Mountain Fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/13/06-East Mountain

Firefighters Battle East Mountain Fire

The conditions have become perfect for fire to run rampant in East Texas. Many fire departments are holding out hope that rain will come soon. The blaze started in a remote wooded area off of FM 1845 in East Mountain late last night.   

East Mountain firefighters and Texas Forestry Service crews began fighting this fire last night, and it has continued to rekindle due to dry conditions, bringing exhausted firefighters back again.

"The toughest part of is the heat of the day trying to consume enough fluids to keep yourself hydrated," said East Mountain firefighter Art Oglesby.

It started in a steep valley.  Fire crews could not get water close enough to douse the blaze.

"It's pretty hot today.  It's been several weeks since we had any rain.  As hot as it is, it preheats fuel, making it burn a whole lot hotter, winds pushing it.  It's miserable work sometimes," said Texas forest service firefighter Kenneth Conaway.  

As bulldozers cut more firebreaks, crews realize the is in front of us and behind us.   They put out one section only to rush to another area that's flared up. The blistering 100 degree heat took its toll. No structures are threatened yet, and these crews will work to keep it that way.

"We'll stay with it till we think it's safe to leave.  So it may be several more hours till we leave today," Conaway says.  

So far the blaze has burned around 15 acres. Investigators believe the fire was started by someone who lit a campfire and then didn't put it out when they left.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.  bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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