Crews contain massive fire at George Bush Park

September 14, 2011 10:44:13 AM PDT
A large wildfire ignited in George Bush Park in west Houston Tuesday afternoon and ash from it fell into neighborhoods miles away. Fortunately, the flames did not threaten any homes.

The fire, which was burning near Westheimer Parkway and Westheimer, is now 100 percent contained.

Firefighters are still out here monitoring the fire line. Right now they don't know how this fire started but this dry, charred ground can certainly tell you a lot. Fire officials point to the extreme drought as fuel for this fast moving fire that has now eaten up 15 to 16 acres of land.

Firefighters had to deal with large flames that raced up trees in George Bush Park yesterday afternoon. Houston fire officials say the winds were a problem, pushing the fire across hundreds of acres even across an area of Buffalo Bayou. Nearly 200 firefighters worked to get the blaze under control.

Almost 24 hours later officials says the blaze is completely contained and with no structures damaged or threatened, crews are now patrolling the fire line to make sure the fire doesn't spread.

We're told the fire started somewhere along Westheimer Parkway. Houston fire officials say a water drop is still possible today on a specific hot section inside the fire line.

Meanwhile crews are expected to be out here for the next 10-24 hours monitoring this fire.

At this time, there is very little smoke, with no evacuation or road closures.


The fire started just after 3pm Tuesday and sent huge clouds of smoke and flames in air. It was under control by nighttime.

From SkyEye HD, you could see just how intense the flames and smoke became. Wind pushed the fire northwest from where it started within George Bush Park. It was a lucky break, according to firefighters.

"We were very fortunate. The wind was coming from the south at about 7 miles per hour. If the wind was going from a different direction, for example out of the east or southeast, we had a neighborhood that we would've been really concerned about," Houston Fire Department Chief Fernando Herrera said. "There were neighborhoods we were worried about, but as long as it burned north, we knew it would be OK."

As the fire billowed black clouds into the air and scorched more than 1,500 acres, residents along Highway 6 began to grow anxious.

"Lots of people outside their houses. Lots of people walking from their houses across the street, kinda getting on fields and sitting on top of chairs trying to what was going on, so definitely lots of people concerned," said Omar Yousef, who watched the fire grow.

More than 150 fire fighters from a dozen departments were able to get inside the heavily forested park and douse the flames. They also used bulldozer to plow a 300-yard long fire break to contain the blaze.

The fire was still burning on last night, and could flare up again, which is why firefighters are telling residents who live northwest of George Bush Park to be prepared to leave quickly if need be. But right now, no homes are in danger and none were lost fighting this fire.

Smoke will likely be in the area for several days.

If you see the smoke or flames and can take photos or videos, send them to or upload them on our iWitness Reports page. But please don't put yourself in harm's way to do it.

If you have a Facebook account and are near the fire, go to our page and join the conversation. Let us know what you're noticing.

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