Wildfires burn in Spring, Waller

June 17, 2011 8:21:02 PM PDT
Two separate wildfires burned across our area on Friday. Both threatened homes, and at least one led to evacuations. Fire threatens homes in Spring

In Spring, officials evacuated about 200 homes in the Breckenridge Forest subdivision due to a wildfire near Cypresswood Drive and Aldine Westfield Road. Residents were allowed to return to their homes around 5:30pm.

Texas Forest Service helicopters dropped fire retardant in the area all afternoon, but authorities say it was air drops from two C-130 planes that really kept the flames from spreading.

At one point, 60-foot fire walls were within 200 yards of homes.

"The fire crews have gone back in with the grass trucks and the brush trucks, the air operations are going on, the dozers are still out in the field doing those fire breaks. So that will continue on through the night until we make sure that this fire is not going to spread anymore," said Lt. Dean Hensley of the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

As many as a dozen fire departments were on the scene, and many crews were told to pull back. When the flames neared homes, residents were asked to evacuate.

Authorities drove through a section of the Breckenridge Forest subdivision, advising families in about 200 homes that it was time to get out. Gloria Marshall Elementary was among the structures threatened.

Chief Scott Schoonover of the Spring Volunteer Fire Department said the evacuations were precautionary in the event fire got past the fire line.

Schoonover said the area is private property and a witness told them that about a year ago, the property was cleared and there's a lot of timber that has been cut down in the area. The chief said that downed timber helped speed the rate of the fire growth.

"Initially, it was about 15 acres when I got here, and it spread throughought the day; the heat, the drought conditions have really hampered operations," Harris County Fire Marshal's Office Lt. Dean Hensley said.

Bulldozers dug out fire lines to contain the blaze. Even though the fire was contained, still resident Adam Rodriquez was uneasy.

"We don't know if it's been turned off, has it been contained, we don't know if it will ignite again or if we should stay here," he said.

Investigators aren't sure how Friday's fire started, but the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.

A few minor injuries occurred, but those injured were treated and released on the scene, said Chief Schoonover.

By Friday night, most firefighters left the scene, leaving the Spring Volunteer Fire Department to mog the hot spots overnight.

Grass fire burns in Waller

Meanwhile, firefighters took on a large wildfire near Highway 290 and FM 2920 near Kickapoo in Waller.

Firefighters from five companies rushed to contain the fire that came dangerously close to several pastures and homes.

Many families and the SPCA rushed in to save their livestock.

"We called them out of the woods, gave them hay and cubes and tried to contain them right here so they don't get too close to the fire," neighbor Betty Schroeder said.

That fire quickly spread across 75 acres.

Investigators say the wind and dry conditions were too much to handle at times. They say the good news no homes were destroyed and no people or animals were hurt. However, the Harris County Sheriff's Office says some lanes of FM 2920 near Hwy 290 were closed due to smoke, and traffic was detoured away from the area.

The cause of this fire is still being investigated.

If you caught photos or video of either fire, you can upload them at iWitness.abc13.com or email them to news@abc13.com.


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