On the front line with firefighters in Grimes County

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 12:51 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 21 at 8:05 AM

HOUSTON -- The Texas Forest Service is now calling a Grimes County fire the worst wildland fire in East Texas history.

Homes were burning Monday night, and close to 30 structures had been destroyed -- and that is not including dozens of outbuildings.
   
The fire was nowhere close to being contained.

On the other side of road blocks was a Texas tinderbox. Thousands of acres burns and
through the haze you see firefighters battle. Flames tore through the underbrush, jumping 30 feet to the tree tops and then pushing over fire lines all over Grimes County.

Reporter Jeremy Desel:  "I mean, you've been at it for how long?"

Anderson Fire Department Volunteer David Kimich: "Since 8-O'clock this morning."

Desel: "Just running and gunning?"

Kimich: "Yes sir."

Desel: "What's the hardest part of that?"

Kimich: "The heat."

Desel: "Explain it to me."

Kimich: "It's hot and dry. Fire. Long days."

He said the flames are too close to home.

Kimich: "It's real close to me… by probably, 7 or 8 miles."

Desel: "Don't take long."

Kimich: "Nope, not in this situation."

The buzz of the aerial fire fight was a constant. Helicopters were used to dump water on the flames growing below.

As the fires burned in the heavily wooded areas there was not much they could do about the trees, and all of the tinder that they create. But what they could fix was the ground, so they came back with bulldozers and tore out huge sections, at least 40 feet away from structures, to try to protect those buildings.

Several structures had been destroyed near Navasota on Wagon Wheel Road.

On Monday night officials said it was the western flank of the fire, which was closer to Navasota, where homes were burning.

There were 20 different fire departments out and at least a dozen structures had protection around them from the volunteer fire departments. The Forest Service assets were out as well

Fire officials said their big victory was keeping the blaze south of Highway 105.

Monday night investigators said it was a barbecue grill that actually caused all of this and there is the potential that the person responsible could be held financially responsible, not just for the damage created, but the cost to fight this fire as well.
 

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