Trinity Co. fire still contained; FM 355 closed

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Firefighters are still putting out hot spots in what was a 1,200-acre blaze in Trinity County, which started Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was contained late Tuesday night. Officials still have FM 355 closed to traffic. About five houses were evacuated Tuesday afternoon, but those residents have since been allowed back home, according to a worker at the fire's control center.

The fire started after a truck driver, Billy Elvie Hogg, 75, of Livingston, wrecked his rig on FM 355. The truck caught on fire and sparked the blaze. Hogg died in the accident.

As firefighters put out hot spots on a 1,200-acre wildfire, Trinity County begins thinking how they'll pay for it.

"It is pretty tough on a county this size, especially you know with our small budget we operate with," said County Judge Doug Page. "We really can sap into our budget if we're not careful."

Trinity County has been wrought with wildfire in recent months.

The bearing fire scorched 22,000 acres and one off Womack Road burned through 200 acres.

Now, the fire off FM 355 has stretched volunteer firefighters and county resources thin.

"Weather conditions are saying this could go on for another year, so it's laying in the back of your mind that this could just really devastate the county economy if we're not careful with it," Page said.

Fires have put them out hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they're hoping the state and federal government will reimburse them.

They've started paperwork on the Bearing Fire, but are waiting on federal agencies to tell them what's next.

It's still too early to know the cost of this latest fire.

Part of 355 has been closed for quite a while. TxDOT crews are blocking the road off at County Road 1 and FM 356. That stretch of road is closed so emergency crews can work on the fire.

Since other areas across Texas have gone up in flames, destroying thousands of homes, Page knows getting all their money back will be a stretch.

"With the federal budget, and the state budget, right on down to our county budget," Page said. "They're all running extremely lean right now, but we'll take anything we can get for sure."

As fire crews work to hold the containment lines around this fire, the county hopes the government will come to their rescue.

FM 355 will remain closed at least until Thursday morning.

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