Fire north of Huntsville nearly contained

June 22, 2011 7:27:55 AM PDT
There's good news for residents north of Huntsville, as emergency workers estimate the wildfire is 85 percent contained. Crews say the toughest challenge now is keeping things under control.___________________________

9AM UPDATE: 2,412 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning near Huntsville. One hundred sixty-three homes were evacuated near Midway.


Blackhawk helicopters with buckets of water are a welcome sight for emergency workers tackling a large fire in a wooded area in Midway, and for the families living nearby.

"That looks good, dropping water, knocking it out," said resident Salvator Saputo.

The fire in this area 85 percent contained but it hasn't damaged any homes.

"Just glad it went further east and it didn't catch any of the houses around here," neighbor Bubba Miller said.

But even with the evacuations lifted, some other folks like Saputo say they're taking no chances, since this fire is so close.

"We've packed a bag and got medicine and that," he said. "Now we're leaving again."

So far 17 agencies have been busy containing this fire that has already damaged nearly 2,500 acres in just two days and as many as five animals have reportedly died. You can't tell from the roadway, but there's still a very active fire working back in the woods. Crews are tackling it with a lot of heavy machinery.

Emergency crews welcome the rain in any amount, even though it helps in varying degrees.

"In some spots it has, but not as much as we would like for it to be," said DPS Trooper Eric Burse. "We had a little bit on the east side and a little bit south of the fire, but not that much."

For now, the Saputos say they're heading to stay with family in Magnolia.

"We're gonna stay there until this thing blows over," Salvator said.

In the Midway area, the evacuation has been lifted and some residents are returning home. The road is open only for residents at this time, not to through traffic.

Authorities hope to have the fire completely contained by Wednesday and leave it to the local fire department to continue monitoring the situation for the next week.

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