UPDATE: 420 acres burned in Smith County, three structures destroyed
POSTED: Sunday, September 8, 2013 - 11:22am
UPDATED: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:02pm
Tyler, Texas (KETK) — Smith County residents have returned home following a string of wildfires that erupted Sunday afternoon, but Smith County firefighters are still on scene to monitor the situation.
Earlier, the Jackson Heights Volunteer Fire Department told KETK that several fire departments were dispatched to multiple fires along Farm to Market Road 2767 and County Road 2908, just east of Loop 323 in Tyler.
According to the Smith County Fire Marshal, eight local fire crews were battling the grass fires which rapidly spread along an eight mile stretch in the area.
As the fires grew, emergency officials began shutting down roads and advised all drivers to avoid the area, if at all possible. Northbound lanes on CR 2908 and eastbound lanes on FM 2767 were blocked due to heavy traffic, but have since been cleared.
Authorities began evacuating around 60 homes in the line of fire around 3:30 p.m., while other homeowners were asked to monitor the situation and evacuate if necessary.
Finally, on Sunday evening around 7: 20 p.m., fire officials said the significant danger from the fire had passed in the area of FM 2767 and allowed homeowners to return to their houses.
The Smith County Sheriff's Office is still advising those who live in the area to remain alert and call 911 if they see any other fires spark up.
FM 2767 will remain closed to traffic and is only open to residents. Fire crews remained on standby throughout the night.
In total, the fire spanned 420 acres and destroyed three structures. A mobile home, empty house and a barn were destroyed and two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.
A person who lost their home in the fire tells KETK they are blessed they got out of the fire and avoided injury.
As of Monday, at 2:00 p.m., fire officials say the fire has been 100 percent contained since late Sunday night.
The firefighter mobile command center is being removed from the scene, but authorities will continue to monitor the area for any pop-up fires.
The Smith County Sheriff's Office is also reminding citizens that Smith County is under a burn ban which means no outdoor burning of any kind is permitted.