Fire crews still working to control "Bearing" wildfire

Dennis McCarthy is a spokesperson for the Texas Forest Service.
Dennis McCarthy is a spokesperson for the Texas Forest Service.

It's been nearly three weeks since the largest wildfire in East Texas history broke out and fire crews are still working to control areas burning inside the walls of the containment lines.

Fire season has just begun and already the Texas Forest Service has tapped into all their resources.

More than 1,000 fire officials have arrived in Texas from other states to help combat blazes across the state.

"Just a few feet in to the flanks of this "Bearing" Fire the pine needles have already fallen off the trees and hardwood leaves to the extent that there's almost a continuous fuel along the forest floor and this is probably enough fuel to carry a fire, certainly not with any intensity, but enough to spread and perhaps lead to unburned fuels and then you're off to the race again," said Dennis McCarthy, a Texas Forest Service spokesperson.

Something both Carrol Hannah and Micho Hales hope they don't have to endure a second time.

"It's worse than a sobering thought, I saw things I never thought I'd see other than on TV with the fire hopping through the tops of these trees and I was right over there when it came through, here with the Hannah's when it was on top of them and it was the most devastating thing I've ever seen and I hope I don't ever see it again," Hales said.

They watched as 20,222 acres went up in flames. Hannah's family equipment shop was in the thick of the largest wildfire in East Texas history.

"Everything was going so fast it was hard to think," Hannah said. "I surely thought I'd lose the shop."

The Hannah's were able to save a lot of their equipment, but there was still some of it that burned.

"It's very important to understand that fire burns deep and burns hot and holds that heat for an extended period of time and should an ash pile, a campfire, somebody having discarded their barbeque coals," McCarthy said. "It's important to know that the fire is not out until you can literally stick your hand down in it and not feel anymore heat than the heat holds from the sun."

The fire is completely contained, but it's still burning and in the Texas heat any moisture from rainfall won't last long.

Fire officials said more than two-thirds of the fires in the last 10 days have started with lightening strikes.

Also, McCarthy said the holiday weekend was successful. They have no report of fires caused by fireworks.

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