Fires burning near Huntsville

June 21, 2011 11:57:46 AM PDT
Firefighters are making progress against a large wildfire near the Walker and Madison County lines.

The fire is outside Huntsville and has charred more than 3,000 acres since it began on Sunday. An evacuation order for 40 residences was lifted Tuesday, but only residents are being allowed into the area.

Called the Midway Fire, we're told it's now 85% contained. Additional crews arrived last night to help get a hold of the fire. Crews tell us that the winds are down and humidity is up which is making it easier to get ahead of the flames.

The Texas Forest Service says no injuries or structure losses have been reported.

The winds yesterday made things tough for firefighters. The Texas Forest Service says it is now responding to at least 20 fires burning more than 76,000 acres all across the state. Three of those fires are burning in our viewing area in Trinity, Grimes and Walker counties.

In Walker County, the fire is causing problems near Huntsville. About 40 homes have already been evacuated and homeowners north of the fire line are already taking precautions in case they are told to leave.

Traffic was moving again along I-45 north of Huntsville as thick clouds of smoke hung over the highway. Firefighters there are mounting an offensive as flames inch dangerously close to the feeder road.

More than 1,600 acres of the Davy Crockett National Forest have burned. The fire here is only 15 percent contained. Strong, gusty winds are fanning the flames and they continue to be enemy number one for firefighters.

Helicopters are being brought in from San Antonio to fight this fire. With so many fires now burning in this part of Texas, resources are becoming scarce.

Alfredo Muskus and his wife own a 1,000 acre ranch south of Madisonville, just five miles north of the fire line. You can see the smoke from their property.

He and his wife have been here 27 years and they've never seen conditions this dry. They're on high alert and have plans in place if the fire starts marching their way.

"This is a 500 gallon tank that we have full of water," Muskus explained. "We do what little we can to be able to help and if we see any smoke we'll run as quick as we can and there's a hose we can operate manually to extinguish any fire."

Dozens of firefighters from several agencies are fighting this fire. So far, no structures have been destroyed. We're told one resident was injured while evacuating, but the extent of those injuries is not known.

Police are asking that drivers not stop along the highway to take pictures of the smoke and flames. This measure is being enforced for safety reasons.

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