Alto-area fire jumps containment lines

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A fire in the Alto area which has burned about 1,700 acres is out of containment again, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

Det. Brad George said the fire was fully contained Monday morning and firefighters were still trying to put out hot spots. However, he said Monday afternoon the fire had jumped containment lines.

George said a new assessment shows the fire has burned 1,700 acres, which is higher than a previous estimate of 300 acres.

George was at the mobile command center Monday morning coordinating relief efforts.

"Not all departments that are involved in this fire are from Cherokee County," George said. "They may not have our particular fire channels and frequencies, so any information that comes through that needs to be relayed."

Texas Forest Service officials say firefighters are in a good position to get the fire contained again, George said.

Campbell said State Highway 294 is back open to traffic, after the fire burned on both sides of it. It did not reached State Highway 21.

"Of course, we had the large fire at the Angelina River Bottom that started last Sunday and of course we were out on it for five," George said. "So, no I have not seen anything this bad."

Sheriff James Campbell said no known structures have burned in the fire, though it did go through a large deer farm.

"The wind is really starting to pick up, so it's kind of scary," Debbie Reynolds said. "It can just go up and take off again."

Reynolds raises horses and cows. She worked through part of the night moving cattle away from the fire's flames.

"It was scary, but there's been so many right here around us just in the past week or two and it's just, you just never know when it may be right on top of you," Reynolds said.

Back at the command post, Red Cross volunteers from Fort Worth and Amarillo worked through the night feeding and hydrating firefighters.

"It is a very rewarding thing to do," American Red Cross Volunteer Cindy Paquette said. "It takes time, it takes energy and it takes a lot of desire to ignore the sweat and the hardship because it's worth it."

Residents worry about the wind that makes the fire's path so unpredictable.

"You never know and you don't realize how helpless you really are," Reynolds said.

Campbell said on Sunday that the fire started from a car fire.

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