WALKER COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — The Florida Forest Service is assisting Texas firefighters as they enter day three of battling the Game Preserve fire north of Huntsville in Walker County.
As of Sunday morning, the wildfire is 40% contained after burning 4,256 acres of a wooded area just off FM-247, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Lela Braunsch, with the Florida Forest Service’s Incident Management Team, told Eyewitness News the fire grew to 4,256 acres since its last update Saturday at 8:51 p.m., when it was 4,254 acres.
The forest services’ said its goal is to slow the spread of flames as much as possible.
Braunsch said officials are lifting the voluntary evacuation order, that was encouraged for everyone within three miles of Lost Indian Camp Road.
Officials said residents of Pinedale, Cedar Ridge subdivision, Brimberry Road, and Brand for Christ Church can now return to their homes.
Several roads that were closed are now open, including FM-247 between Pinedale, FM-2989, and the North Freeway between FM-1696 and FM-2989.
“Be aware. Be cautious. We are monitoring the weather. There is expected rain this afternoon, too, so that could pick up a little dust,” Braunsch said. “If the weather changes or that fire picks up, and we start seeing smoke on the roads, we will shut the roads back down. So be aware of that.”
The Texas A&M Forest Service told Eyewitness News that the weather conditions affected the fire risk in this area.
“It really is extreme drought in these places, and that has everything to do with the flammability of the forest. When the fire gets started, it’s going to grow, it’s going to move, it’s going to go up into the upper canopy of the trees. Fire conditions are red hot right now, and that’s why we want everybody to be very careful with anything that could put off sparks or be hot or have flame outside. Please just don’t do it right now,” Daniel Patterson, with the forest service, said.
Patterson said there are more than a hundred firefighters on the ground, working to try and control these flames.
On Saturday, SkyEye flew over the wildfire that grew 10 times its size since it was first ignited on Friday afternoon. At first, SkyEye couldn’t get close to the scene due to smoke clouding the sky.
ABC13 crews said the smoky haze can be seen and smelled from miles away.
At this time, the cause of this fire is still under investigation, and officials haven’t disclosed if any homes have been lost.
SkyEye video from Saturday shows air operations dropping loads of water as crews worked to contain the fire.
Information is provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service
The fire began at about 4:20 p.m. and was estimated at 100 acres.
By 7:37 p.m., the fire had grown 10 times its size, stretching across 1,000 acres, and a voluntary evacuation was issued.
At 9 p.m., the wildfire, named the Game Preserve fire, burned about 1,200 acres and was 10% contained.
As crews worked overnight, the fire tripled its size, reaching 3,000 acres and 10% was contained.
At about 8:30 a.m., the flames were 20% contained, but the wildfire continued to spread another 800 acres by 12 p.m.
By 4 p.m., that number grew to 4,300 acres.
Four hours later, the Texas A&M Forest Service posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying the wildfire grew to 4,254 acres and was 40% contained.
When the Florida Forest Service arrived in Walker County Sunday morning, officials told Eyewitness News the voluntary evacuation had been lifted. Officials added that the fire only grew two more acres and was 40% contained.