Major East Texas wildfires raise awareness of high danger

William Clay Golden lives on Womack Road.
William Clay Golden lives on Womack Road.
Karen Mark lives on Womack Road, just down from Golden.
Karen Mark lives on Womack Road, just down from Golden.

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Crews are still monitoring an 83-acre fire in Trinity County Friday night.

The Womack road blaze in Nigton is contained, but not yet controlled.

"I was in here asleep and actually heard the helicopters going over," Womack Road resident William Clay Golden said.

Golden lives just feet from where the 83-acre wildfire broke out Wednesday.

Fire crews think a lightning strike started the blaze.

"First thing I did was start pulling out water hoses," Golden said. "It was okay, I'm fixing to wet everything down. I'm a little scared because there's a thicket behind the house and I know if it got right there, it's just going to be hot."

Just down the road, Karen Mark got a call at work about the blaze.

"We were all very frightened for awhile because we had all seen what the fire did out there at the big "Bearing" Fire so we were very nervous, but we also trusted in God that it would be alright," Mark said.

It's memories of fires like the 22,000-acre "Bearing" Fire that residents say keep them vigilant.

Crews are still working to put out hot spots there, but they say major fires over the summer have made residents aware of the high fire danger.

"If I see a fire, I'm pretty well going to call 911," Mark said. "I'm not going to say, 'Oh that's their business.' We don't do that any more out here. We take it very seriously."

The fire on Womack Road was actually contained pretty quickly, but the new concern for fire crews becomes the pine needles. When they fall off the trees, they could help re-ignite the fire.

"They find something hot to fall on that's smoldering on the ground or under the ground and they ignite and catch on fire and do what we call re-burn," Texas Forest Service District Fire Coordinator Jeff Durant said.

The Forest Service said major fires in the area have really caught the attention of East Texans and they hope the awareness sticks.

Trinity County is still under a burn ban. They started issuing the ban in late March.

Angelina County has been under a burn ban since June. They were the last in Deep East Texas to issue a ban.

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