TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - To reach the heart of the largest wildfire in East Texas history, you have to travel down North County Line Road.
It's muddy from Tuesday's rain, and bumpy from logging trucks that are already hauling what they can salvage out of the forest.
It's no easy trip, but once you get to the Four Corners Hunting Club camp the damage is clear.
"As soon as we came around that corner and we saw it, it was just like wow," said club member Mark Guerra. "It was kind of hard to believe it actually got us. Your heart just sank when you actually saw it."
The 20,222 acre "Bearing" Wildfire ripped through the woods, leveling 25 campers, three ATVs and two hunting vehicles on two campgrounds in Polk County.
"We were going to try to camp out here Fourth of July weekend, ride four-wheelers and things like that," said Guerra. "As you can see now, we have nothing to come to and now we have a major clean-up on our hands."
Some are still waiting on insurance adjusters to come out, something Guerra wishes he was waiting on.
"We had talked about getting insurance on the trailer because the hurricanes have come through here," said Guerra. "I got my pictures, but it's one of those things, we play baseball year round, we do a lot stuff and just never got around to doing it and when I did, when we finally should've done it, it was too late."
In every direction, as far as the eye can see, there's nothing but charred Earth.
"When you look at it, it's just amazing, all the memories we have here, but we've all vowed to rebuild and we'll be back out here this hunting season," said Guerra.
The wildfire is now 85 percent contained, but it'll be a while before the hunting club is back to normal.
"We may be in tents," said Guerra. "This hunting season we might be in a tent this year."
Come fall, Guerra said Four Corners will still be a good place to hunt.
They haven't been able to check all the deer stands yet, but he said things will green-up soon. Already a few deer have been spotted.
Firefighters working to get full containment of the "Bearing" wildfire in Trinity County reported Friday morning that it is now 85% contained.
The fire continues to burn near Carmona. Two homes and six cabins were destroyed and dozens have been evacuated.
Guerra said damage estimates easily top $250,000 and that does not include hunting gear, supplies and personal items that were there.
The exact extent of damages and loss from the "Bearing" fire will not be known for several weeks.
- Critical fire weather conditions expected today across portions of the West and Northwest branches and elevated fire conditions from the Big Country to the Edwards Plateau.
- Texas Forest Service responded to one new large fire yesterday in Wheeler County.
- Texas Forest Service currently is responding to 15 large fires that have burned 163,829 acres.
- The Hudson Complex (Sterling County, 1,700 acres) and the Faulkner Fire (Crockett County, 2,201 acres) were contained yesterday.
- 228 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.
- Detailed fire information can be found at inciweb.org.
- Questions about evacuations, burn bans and fireworks bans should be directed to the county judge, sheriff's office or emergency management coordinator.
Since fire season started on Nov. 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 12,779 fires that have burned 3,251,365 acres. These figures are updated every Monday and Friday.
New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):
MILES, Wheeler County. 500 acres, 90 percent contained. Three houses were evacuated. This fire is burning approximately 4 miles east northeast of Wheeler, near the airport.
Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):
WHITE HAT, Coke and Nolan Counties. 71,200 acres, 75 percent contained. There are voluntary evacuations around the community of Maryneal. Eight homes, eight outbuildings and three vehicles were destroyed. A power substation received heavy damage. Heavy airtankers, single-engine airtankers and helitankers continue to assist on this fire. This fire is burning 4 miles south of Maryneal.
BEARING, Polk and Trinity Counties. 20,222 acres, 85 percent contained. The fire is burning near Carmona. Two homes and six cabins were destroyed and dozens have been evacuated.
DYER MILL, Grimes County. 5,280 acres, 95 percent contained. Thirty homes are confirmed destroyed, along with three businesses. More than 1,000 homes and businesses were evacuated, the evacuation order has been lifted. This fire is burning approximately 3 miles east of Whitehall.
MIDWAY (COWBOY CHURCH), Walker County. 2,412 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning near Huntsville. One hundred sixty-three homes were evacuated near Midway. The fire was burning on both sides of Interstate 45 with crowning in the timber. Eight Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System engines responded from the Houston area to assist in addition to TFS resources, TIFMAS resources have now been released from this fire.
POWER LINE, Jasper County. 3,500 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is burning just south of Lake Sam Rayburn Dam. Five hundred homes were threatened.
SMAC, Brooks County. 30,000 acres, 95 percent contained. This fire is burning 13 miles southwest of Falfurrias.
COBBLE RD. #1, Howard County. 1,200 acres, 90 percent contained. This fire is burning 2 miles west of Big Spring.
MITCHELL RANCH 2, Crockett County. 5,000 acres, 50 percent contained. This fire is burning 31 miles southwest of Ozona.
TRENT MESA, Taylor County. 600 acres, 50 percent contained. This fire is burning 8 miles southwest of Merkel. Numerous wind turbines are threatened.
McDONALD II, Clay County. 5,915 acres, 50 percent contained. The fire was threatening the town of Henrietta. Evacuations of numerous homes and businesses took place.
ROCK CREEK, Stonewall County. 8,000 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning seven miles northeast of Aspermont in tall grass.
JRM, Throckmorton County. 7,000 acres, 95 percent contained. This fire is a complex of four lightning fires near Throckmorton. Twelve homes are threatened.
NANCE RANCH, Randall County. 607 acres, 90 percent contained. Two single-engine airtankers and a TFS task force worked the fire burning in grass 6 miles east of Canyon. Twelve homes were saved.
FINIS, Young County. 393 acres, 90 percent contained. This fire is burning approximately 8 miles southeast of Graham.
Dry line will remain across West Texas from Amarillo to near the Davis Mountains on Friday as upper-ridge strengthens across Texas. Wind gusts above 20 mph can be expected across the panhandle and behind the dry line with relative humidity values decreasing to around 5 percent. Otherwise, high temperatures are forecast to increase to over 100 degrees across the western half of the state and the upper 90s across the east. Critical fire weather conditions expected across portions of the West and Northwest branches and elevated fire conditions from the Big Country to the Edwards Plateau.
Fireworks safety tips:
Texas Forest Service does not make decisions regarding fireworks restrictions or outdoor burn bans. The state agency does, however, provide drought information to county government officials. Under state law, each county is tasked with making its own decisions regarding fireworks restrictions and burn bans.
- Follow all county and city laws regarding fireworks use.
- Only use fireworks outdoors and away from dry grass and buildings.
- Read the labels and use only as directed, with adult supervision.
- Keep water, wet towels, and a garden hose nearby.
- Allow fireworks to cool completely before handling, and discard used fireworks into a bucket of water.
- Firewise (firewise.org) is a resource for residents to protect their home and property from wildfire.
- Adjust the safety chains on your trailers to ensure they don't drag and create sparks that can cause roadside starts.
- Never leave a campfire unattended. Always have tools available to put out a fire.
- Remove flammable materials from around your home.
- Develop an evacuation plan for your family. Resources are available on the Firewise website and at texasfirestorm.org.
- Obey outdoor burning bans. Don't burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.
- Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark.
- To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850. If possible, safely obtain an accurate description of the person and/or vehicle (including the license number) before calling the hotline.
- Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires. Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.