By Sandi Saulsbury
Following last week's massive wildfires, Southeast Texans are a bit more than just a little on edge; and rightfully so.
Shortly after 1 pm Friday, Kirbyville Volunteer Fire Department, Tri-Community VFD, Roganville VFD, Beech Grove VFD, Arizona Forest Service, Tennessee Forest Service, Texas Forest Service, Rayburn VFD, Angelina River VFD, Jasper County Judge Mark Allen, Jasper County Office of Emergency Management, Jasper County Sheriff's Office and Texas Department of Public Safety were all called out as boots on the ground in full support and standby support of a massive wildfire that erupted in the Magnolia Springs area.
Air support was given from the Texas Division of Emergency Management contracted aircraft.
Soon, a mandatory evacuation of Hwy 252 and 1005 South of Jasper was called. Jasper Independent School District exercised extreme caution and monitored bus routes to protect the children living in that area. Parents were notified that any children who were to ride bus 32 trip 2 who lived on County Road 332, 333, 333A, 317, or anywhere on 1005 or South of 1005, were going to be kept at the schools for parent pick-up.
During this time, there was a second call regarding another wood fire on Cr 3068. Kirbyville VFD was requested to assist Newton VFD on this one. Citizens were encouraged to be aware and prepared if an evacuation was ordered.
Meanwhile, a mandatory evacuation for County Roads 332, 333, 333A & 317 was ordered. FM 1005 was closed between FM 252 and US 96. All citizens in the area were advised to be prepared in the event that an evacuation was called.
After 5:30 p.m., evacuations were lifted, and travel in the restricted areas resumed.
Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said that as of Friday evening, they could not give an exact number of acres charred just yet, but at that time the state was giving a preliminary count of 40 acres and thankfully, no structures were lost. The Fire Departments were stationed outside homes and other facilities protecting them throughout the duration by dousing them with steady streams of water.