Wildfires rage in Montgomery County

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 20 at 9:35 AM

HOUSTON—Firefighters in Montgomery County battled two separate fires Tuesday as hot and dry conditions continued throughout the state of Texas.

A 30-acre wildfire threatened several homes in the Magnolia Ridge subdivision near FM 1774 and Nichols Sawmill in Magnolia.

"It feels like you’ve been at a barbecue all day long," said Magnolia Ridge subdivision resident Aaron Gillespie, who moved into his home two weeks ago.

A spokesperson with the Texas Forest Service said investigators don’t know how the fire started, but said they do know that it began around 1 p.m. between some railroad tracks and FM 1774.

"It’s probably not a human cause fire. It started along the railroad tracks. It could have been something along the road. It will have to be investigated," said John Warner with the Texas Forest Service.

Firefighters doused trees and branches with water and used a helicopter with a bucket attached to dump water on the hot spots.

Some homeowners were prepared to use their personal water hoses around their homes.

"We were looking and we were talking and we were like, ‘the only way it could come is if it came around here,’ and we were scared. We started grabbing our papers just in case we had to go to a hotel or something," Gillespie said.

There were no evacuations, and the fire was no longer a threat to the homes. As of Tuesday evening, the fire was 80-percent contained. Meanwhile, firefighters battled another blaze 20 miles southeast of the Magnolia fire at Needham near Ford Road.

About 10 acres of land burned in that fire. According to the Texas Forest Service, the fire started in a mulch and log pile that was in the yard of a tree business.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. There were no evacuations.

The fire is under investigation.

According to the Texas Forest Service, it hasn’t been this dry in the state since 1917.

The agency is urging people to take precautions by not throwing cigarette butts out the window, not parking or driving on grass, and removing vegetation from your roof and out of your gutters. 

They are also asking people to keep lawns short and watered.

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