GRIMES COUNTY, Texas An evacuation order has been listed for certain parts of Grimes County after heavy rain blanketed the area Wednesday. By 6 p.m., the firewas 75 percent contained.
The Texas Forest Service estimates the Dyer Mill fire in Grimes County has burned 5,280 acres. That number was revised Wednesday from an earlier estimate of 5,800 acres due to more accurate mapping, said Lexi Maxwell, a spokesperson for the TFS.
Portions of the mandatory evacuation in place on the Dyer Mills fire have been lifted for some residents. As of noon Wednesday, the evacuation has been lifted on the following areas only:
- County Road 202 (Pine Brook Subdivision)
- County Road 201 (Shadow Lake Subdivision)
- County Road 306 through to County Road 362
- FM 1748
- County Road 308
- The roadblock on Country Road 304 has been moved back to the intersection of 304 and 344.
The mandatory evacuation remains in place for:
- CR 304 from 344 to CR 302
- CR 302 from Lone Star to Micrea
Residents are not permitted to return to these areas. There will be daily assessments on when that can happen safely.
Maxwell said the heavy rain was helping firefighters contain the blaze, but that it was like pouring a canteen of water on a camp fire the moisture helps, but it likely won t extinguish the entire fire.
Still, evacuees weren't complaining.
Happiest morning of my life when it started raining! said resident Natalie Morris.
But the day was not without frustration.
The Morriss family wasn t allowed back into their home on County Road 344. They were told to wait until a town meeting scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph s Catholic Church.
That s rather stunning that 72 hours after we were evacuated, it s the first time there s going to be anything shared about what s going on with our property, said her father, Steven Morriss.
The Forest Service says the blaze is now 50 percent contained -- up from 35 percent on Tuesday. Still, the agency cautions against too much optimism in the wake of today s rainfall.
This fire is not out by any means, said Justice Jones with the TFS. We re certainly going to take advantage of the upper hand that the weather has given us.
Other residents were able to return when those evacuation orders after the downpour.
I was waiting on that, said Joe Kwitkowski, a former evacuee who lives in the Pinebrook subdivision. I was watching the radar all night long!
He said he and neighbors had to beat back the flames from their homes Sunday using a garden hose. He spent the past few nights in a motel.
I'm going to drink some beers, he said. Chill out. How's that? And cook a hell of a dinner!
While officials recognize the need for people to return home, residents are encouraged to postpone returning to the area for a few more days. If they do choose to return, they are advised to use caution as there are still safety issues in the area: threats from burned trees that could fall, traffic from emergency responders and vehicles, as well as possible downed power lines and damaged utility poles.
There is a strong possibility that power, water and phones may not be operating if residents return home.
For more information, residents can call:
- Phones: 936-825-7016
- Utilities: 936-825-5115
- Entergy: 936-825-6525