The fire started near the Four Corners Store, but the store itself was not affected.
On Wednesday night, the Texas Forest Service had 19 individuals and a dozer there available at the intersection of FM 1002 and Hwy. 154 in case they were needed. Under the TFS incident command, helicopter water drops had helped control the fire that broke out at 1 a.m. Wednesday after having diminished Tuesday night.
“Some people like to leave the woods and brush close to their homes for cosmetic reasons,” said Fire Marshal Paul Steelman. “It is extremely hard to protect a structure with this type of fire. There was a tremendous amount of heat and the wind created a deadly combination.”
Many of the homeowners were away at the time, giving them no chance to save any possessions. In addition to structures, numerous cars, trucks and boats were lost.
Among the U.S. Forest Service personnel at the fire, this reporter met four members of the Flathead Indian Reservation from Ronan, Mont., at the end of a two-and- a-half-day drive, and a dozer driver from the Mark Twain National Forest in southeastern Missouri. Those units gave local firefighters a break from the action.
Units came Wednesday from Southlake, Hurst, and Trophy Club, some of whom had fought previously at Bastrop.
At this point, every state in the Mountain West, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, has fought East Texas fires, as well as representatives from North Dakota, Minnesota, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
In separate news, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus requested the TFS expedite the distribution of $27 million in funds for the Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, an almost identical amount to what the Legislature cut from the program in April.