Wildfire burning more than 100 acres in Walker Co.
HOUSTON Wednesday was an exhausting day for firefighters. The command center didn't pack up until the fire was contained at nighttime. Justin Wilson tries to keep his horse, Sheba, calm. He says Sheba has been skittish since she first smelled the smoke Wednesday afternoon. "If the fire came anywhere close or anything, we'd probably move her down to a neighbor's house or something right now, but we're just going to ride it out," he said. Wilson's mom has the cattle trailer parked in the front to load family belongings, just in case. They watched helplessly as the wildfire spread to within a few miles from their home. "We were running around like chickens without heads. I mean, we were just crazy, and we were calling people, and calling the other neighbors that might not have known," neighbor Julie Hill said. Helicopters have been used to dump water onto the massive wildfire, which was first noticed about 11:30am Wednesday. Three hours later, the fire had spread from a few acres to more than 100 acres. Bulldozers and dozens of firefighters helped to control the blaze while neighbors were busy as well. "It's been very frightening to think that you could lose everything that you have, so we've been in 'go mode' all afternoon," neighbor Jennifer Graves said. Her home in the Pinedale subdivision north of Huntsville was in the path of the fire. Her livestock has already been moved. So have her valuables. Authorities say the homes are safe for now. As of Wednesday night, the fire was contained, but still burning. "It will probably reduce in size. It doesn't have the fuel and the wind at night so it will probably die down some and slow down," Pine Prairie Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mark Robinson said. The manpower is expected to ramp up Thursday morning. Fifteen different agencies have responded to the fire, including surrounding volunteer fire departments. The Texas Forest Service says by its calculations, this has been the driest the state has been since 1917.