Fire-fighters battle against 'Bearing' leads to 60% containment - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Fire-fighters battle against 'Bearing' leads to 60% containment

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

There's good news coming from the fire's front Tuesday afternoon.  Firefighters now have a 60% percent containment around the mammoth fire. It's the biggest advance since the wildfire started Friday. The days and hours since then have taken their toll on area volunteer fire departments.

It's been a losing fight so far against bearing.  The wildfire in Trinity County now covering over 23, 722 acres.

"To see this amount of acreage burned up is just unreal," said Race Ussery, Texas Forest Service.

But fire-fighters scored a real victory Tuesday: it's now 60% contained. It's been an uphill battle getting to this point.

"Since the fire's been out of control we've been trying to protect all the structures we can and every body's property to keep everything from burning," said Devin Gentry, Pennington VFD.

Maybe hardest hit, the volunteer fire departments who are sacrificing everything to do their part. Like the fire crew from the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe.

"The hardest on our equipment would be the roads, a lot of the fires we can't get into. We try to keep the structures up and going. That's the number one priority"said Herbert Johnson, Alabama-Coushatta VFD.

Which requires water.  The dry conditions making it a precious commodity.

"We have to drop 300 gallons of water and come right back and re-do it again."<Johnson:>

Manpower is also suffering.

Pennington VFD's Devin Gentry says they've lost about 100 volunteers.  Putting extra pressure on the ones who stay.

"A lot of people around here who volunteer are older in the departments. It is very tiring to come out here and spend 15-16 hours a day," said Gentry.

Hours spent on-call at the command center waiting for the Incident Commander to tell them when and where they're needed. Which is usually to help the forest service out in field.

The Texas Forest Service continually uses their dozers to reinforce and build up fire lines. They want to make it easier for other fire-fighters to check for hot spots.

Race Ussery is part of a dozer team. They're trying to keep up the gains made on containing the fire.

"There's a lot of re-burn going on. All the embers falling to the ground - keeps lighting back up. It's just going to be an ongoing process," said Ussery.

 As far as weather conditions at the fire, the biggest concern are high, shifting winds. Even when they got a little rain Tuesday morning, winds dried everything out immediately.

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