Wildfire out after stretching across 97 acres near CR-325 in Cleveland, firefighters say

Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Large wildfire prompts evacuation near CR 325, Cleveland officials say
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A 97-acre wildfire in Cleveland prompted an evacuation for residents near CR-325 and FM-1010, according to authorities.

CLEVELAND, Texas (KTRK) -- A massive wildfire burned nearly 100 acres in Liberty County on Tuesday afternoon before crews contained it hours later, according to authorities.

The City of Cleveland evacuated residents who lived near County Road 325 after authorities said the large fire was a threat to several structures.

Firefighters staged homes to protect them from the oncoming fire, according to Pct. 6 Constable Zack Harkness.

In an update at 7 p.m., residents were advised they could return home.

Eyewitness News spoke with people after they were evacuated. Some of those residents left everything and brought only what was on them, and others packed up their vehicles with valuables, like their chickens and ducks.

"They were all in the house, so (my wife) got (the ducks) before it was too late," one man who lives a couple of houses down from the evacuation zone said. "I had to grab my babies."

The man said he was a lineman for 26 years, so this wasn't his first wildfire.

Residents in Cleveland were rushed out of their homes as a massive wildfire spread near their homes. One resident saved his ducks before getting somewhere safe.

Meanwhile, his wife packed another car full of their chickens. She told ABC13 that although her husband wasn't worried about the fire, she had never experienced anything like this before.

"This has never happened to me, not this close, but, I have my babies," she said. "(The wildfire smell) is probably going to be in everybody's houses for a while."

The wildfire spanned across 40 acres by 4 p.m., according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Hours later, the forest service said the flames spread 97 acres before being 100% contained.

Another resident told ABC13 that he wasn't surprised by the wildfire, considering the area's extreme temperatures.

"I mean, it's scorching outside. You can't even go outside," he said.

Cleveland ISD's school buses were being rerouted due to road closures from the flames.

"Due to a wildfire near FM 1010 and the road being shut down near the 105 bypass, a majority of district bus routes are being re-routed and will be delayed this afternoon," the school district said in a statement to families.

In a video from the ground, the Cleveland Fire Department shared on social media, air operations heading toward the fire as crews continue to put out the flames.

SkyEye flew above the scene, capturing footage where the responding helicopter could be seen flying toward the smoke.