Henderson County wildfires started on shoulder of Hwy 198

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Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 4:03 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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HENDERSON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Evacuation orders are now lifted following a fire that burned dozens of acres in Henderson County on Wednesday.

Three firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries, but are expected to be okay.

Payne Springs Fire and Rescue and several other departments were called to the fire that started on the shoulder of the 6000 block of State Highway 198, near an inactive gas plant.

Fire Chief Adam Robinson said the cause is unknown at this time.

“The biggest challenge was when we first arrived on scene it was the fire was in a hay field that had moderate fuels but the wind conditions were about 20 mph and it was some of the more extreme fire behavior that I’ve seen in my 27 years of being a volunteer fireman,” he said.

At some points, the head of the fire was 20 to 30 yards wide, which Robinson said their grass trucks could not do much for. The Texas A&M Forest Service had two bulldozers and an engine on scene to help.

“In these types of fires, when it gets in the woods, the Texas A&M Forest Service is mandatory,” Robinson said. “We’re not able to get in those woods far enough to be able to stop the fire, so having those bulldozers available is priceless so they can come in and put that fire line around and put a containment around the fire.”

He said they had another fire up the road that also started on the shoulder.

“I’m going to guess, being we had two fires that started on the shoulder, very likely a person towing a trailer with the chains dragging, or maybe a hot wheel bearing or something like that. With the conditions we had today any kind of spark can start a fire very quickly.” Robinson said.

They expect the fire will continue to burn in containment lines for several days, as it’s in a wooded area. So residents could still see smoke.

According to a post on the Henderson County Facebook page, officials had earlier closed SH 198 between Clear Creek Road and CR 2829.

The fire is large and crowning, which means the fire is moving along the tops of trees.

Two locations on CR 2829 were evacuated for some time. An evacuation area was also set up in the Eustace High School parking lot.

As of 5:45 p.m., fire officials report the fire is 85-percent contained. Based on drone footage, the fire was estimated to have grown to at least 25 acres.

In an update at 10:15 p.m., the Texas A&M Forest Service reported the fire had burned 45 acres and was 100-percent contained.

Overnight, Payne Springs Fire Rescue and the Forest Service were monitoring back burning operations at the scene.

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