HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Chief Deputy G. P. Shearer drives down roads in Houston County looking for loose cattle.
"I'll just look and see the what the brands are and the markings on them and I'll call dispatch and they can find the owner," Shearer said.
After a massive blaze torched nearly 5,000 acres this week, livestock are searching for greener pastures.
"A lot of people have moved their cattle out," Shearer said. "There were some folks that were unable to. The fire moved so fast through this area...so, those cattle did get displaced and where they're at, we don't know."
"We're in a 17 mile triangle, from roadway to roadway," Shearer said. "That's a lot of country."
Many fences couldn't withstand the fire's heat. Others, were cut to make way for crews working to save property, leaving hundreds of animals with a way out and the chance to create a traffic problem.
"They haven't made it to the major roads like FM 232 and 287 because there are green areas just outside the fire, which is well-within the hard-road boundary," Shearer said.
He expects calls to increase over the next few days as weekend ranchers come out to find their cattle missing.
Shearer's other concern is burned trees waiting to fall.
"When they are returning back to their homes, be very, very careful because trees are still smoldering, they're smoldering at the bases," Shearer said. "They can topple at any minute."
The land is expected to smolder for weeks as fire crews continue to monitor the area.
"Pray for rain," Shearer said. "Clean up and pray for rain."
If your cattle are missing, authorities suggest checking with neighbors before calling the sheriff's office.
If you spot roaming cows, you can report which direction they are heading. Law enforcement can trace them using brands.