Some evacuation orders lifted in Southeast Texas

Some evacuation orders lifted in Southeast Texas
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 8:16pm

(AP) - Several thousand residents chased by wildfires from their homes in Southeast Texas began returning home Wednesday after officials began lifting some of the evacuation orders as conditions improved.

Most of those returning were among the 1,800 residents forced from their homes by a fire near Navasota, about 60 miles northwest of Houston. About two inches of rain helped firefighters gain ground in their efforts to contain the fire.

Texas Forest Service regional unit coordinator Justice Jones still advised those wanting to return home to be patient and use caution. He warned that fire conditions could worsen after the rains leave the area, and that downed power lines, fallen trees and heavy firefighting traffic could pose other hazards.

But pool building Jeff McKenzie returned to find his home intact. He said the fire that reached within a couple hundred yards of his property erupted Sunday with a huge plume of smoke billowing into the sky.

Then the red glow in the sky Sunday night just over the trees convinced him it was time to leave.

By Wednesday, the winds had subsided and rain fell, leaving McKenzie feeling "very fortunate" and "very good now."

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