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Trinity County News 2

Fires heat up hot weekend

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071422 trinity firesWinds whipped a grass fire on FM 3188 on Thursday. Courtesy photo

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — Trinity firefighters responded to eight fire calls over the weekend, including four calls on Friday in 100-degree-plus weather, and the department asks all county residents to please not burn under any circumstances.

A burn ban exists in the county, and dry conditions make any fire hazardous.

Assistant Fire Chief Keith Johnson said that at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, a transformer exploded on FM 356 at White Rock Acres.

Firefighters found two high-power transmission lines from Entergy broken and draped over lines belonging to Sam Houston Electric Co-op; the event started a four-acre fire in the nearby woods.

Trinity Volunteer Fire Department responded with five trucks and 19 firefighters and called for mutual aid from 356 VFD, which responded with four trucks and 10 firefighters. Texas Forest Service responded with a bulldozer to establish a fire line.

Johnson said the fire was contained in approximately an hour and units stayed on scene until 3 a.m. putting out hot spots. Entergy and SHECO responded with line crews to shut off power and make repairs.

No injuries were reported and no structures were damaged.

Johnson said that another fire broke out at around 2 p.m. Saturday behind Heath and Human Services building on Highway 19 South.

This fire damaged the back wall of a barn and endangered the DHS office and a vacant home next door. The VFD responded with five trucks and 14 firefighters and quickly extinguished the fire before it could extend into other structures.

On Thursday at about 4:15 p.m., approximately 75 acres on FM 3188 erupted in multiple grass fires on Hwy 94 and FM 3188.

Johnson said two brush trucks, two tankers and one engine along with 18 firefighters responded.

A southwest wind pushed several grass fires into wooded areas on the Glendale Hunting Club, and help from Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, 356 VFD and Groveton VFD arrived, and assisted with brush trucks, tankers and firefighters.

Texas Forest Service also responded with three bulldozers and manpower as well as a spotter plane.
The fire was 95 percent contained around 10:40 p.m.

Johnson said no structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

On Monday at about 12:53 p.m., Trinity firefighters were dispatched to a grass fire at Trinity Plantation. Three trucks and 15 firefighters responded and extinguished the fire in less than 10 minutes.

Johnson said the fire possibly was caused by a tractor cutting grass.  

071422 trinity fires twoThe fire on FM 356 reignited Sunday after a dead tree limb that had been smoldering dropped and fell across the fire line. A grass fire started Monday near Trinity Plantation. Bulldozers from the Texas Forest Service create a fire line.

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House destroyed from fire

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070722 house fireFirefighters work to extinguish a blaze at 249 Creekside Drive. Courtesy photo

TCNS staff

TRINITY — A man’s home and two storage sheds were destroyed as the result of a fire that broke out in the evening of June 29.

Assistant Fire Chief Keith Johnson said the blaze erupted at about 10:20 p.m. at 249 Creekside Drive off FM 1617, the home of James Cox.

When firefighters arrived, the house and storage sheds were engulfed with flames, so the department set up drafting operations and began tanker shuttle for water supply. The 356 Fire Department was called for mutual aid and they responded with tanker, engine, and brush truck.

Trinity VFD had six engines and 18 firefighters on the scene for approximately 3 1/2 hours, and 356 VFD responded with 10 firefighters.
Johnson said the house and contents were a total loss. While the cause is believed to be electrical, Johnson said there is no way to determine it as the area was destroyed.

The Red Cross is providing assistance to the family. 

During this fire a small brush fire started downwind of the house fire and was quickly extinguished by local residents. 

TVFD Brush 1 also responded to a small rekindle fire at the Pineland Forest fire in Glendale during this time.

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One injured in two-semi crash

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070722 car crashjpg(Right) Two semi trucks collided on Friday on Highway 287 north of Groveton. Courtesy photo

TCNS staff

GROVETON – Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers investigated a two-vehicle crash on Friday on U.S. Highway 287 north of Groveton.

Reports indicate that at approximately 8:25 a.m., a 1996 Western Star semi was traveling south while a 2016 Peterbilt semi was traveling north.

The driver of the Peterbilt, Marty Parrish, 47, of Corrigan, was attempting to turn left into a private drive when his vehicle collided with the southbound Western Star, driven by Samuel Sease, 35, of Rusk.

Sease was not injured, but Parrish was transported to Woodland Heights Hospital in Lufkin for treatment, the report states.
This crash remains under investigation.

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Forest fires rage through county

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063022 fires rage in trinityA home is engulfed in flames after a fire broke out on June 19. Smoke from a forest fire could be seen from a distance. Courtesy photos

By Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fire departments from all ends of the county battled blazes throughout last week, largely due to storms that produced lightning but no rain.
Trinity Fire Department Assistant Chief Keith Johnson said the fire over this last weekend covered 207 acres of wooded land.

It also was the second time the department responded to the area, as a fired had broken out, again due to lightning, on June 18, which involved 25 acres of wooded area in the area of Pineland Drive and Highway 94.

“We’ve had a lot of dry thunderstorms, which produce lots of lightning in the trees but no rain, he said.

The first fire had been contained in 3 ½ hours. The second, also caused by lightning, occurred on Friday, and on Saturday firefighters were called again for the same area.

Johnson said they were paged out before 4 p.m. Saturday, and they could see the smoke from a distance. The Texas Forest Service was out with a couple of bulldozers making a fire break, and Trinity VFD was protecting a structure.

“We thought we had it contained, but wind came up and the fire spread fast,” he said. “It even crossed the road on 94. Pineland Drive has six residences, and fire was headed that way.”

Trinity called for help, and Groveton, Apple Springs, Friday, Pennington and Highway 356 departments all responded. The Forest Service called in helicopters for water drops.

By Sunday afternoon crews had the blaze 100 percent contained, but still it was smoking on Monday.

Johnson said a fence along 94 melted, but that was the only damage to property other than the forest. The Texas Department of Transportation had Highway 94 shut down for about 3 hours during the fight. No evacuation ordered, but some residents left on their own.

Lightning and dry conditions caused the fire to consume about 207 acres, and Johnson said that county resident need to be extremely cautious.

“I know the Fourth of July is coming up, and even though it’s not illegal to buy fireworks, it still is dangerous to light them off in the dry weather,” he said. “Please be careful.”

On June 19, also on Highway 94, an abandoned home was destroyed by fire.

Johnson said the fire broke out that afternoon off Hwy 94 before high school. A total of five fire units and 15 firefighters responded, and when they arrived, the house was engulfed in flames.

Johnson said no one was living in the house at the time of fire, and it was total loss.

063022 fires rage twoSmoke made battling a blaze difficult by impairing visibility. The house, located near Trinity High School on Highway 94, was a total loss in a fire.

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Texans must conserve water

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062322 conserve waterWith extreme heat comes additional water use, and it’s important to understand why additional conservation methods are needed, especially during a drought.

Statewide drought due to less rainfall

By Todd Danielson
Vice President, Engineering, Texas Water Utilities

Record-breaking heat, below-average rainfall and wildfires are having a significant impact on Texans. Farmers are finding creative solutions to grow their crops, and water utilities are forced to implement restrictions on watering.

With extreme heat comes additional water use, and it’s important to understand why additional conservation methods are needed, especially during a drought.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 80 percent of Texans are currently experiencing drought. As temperatures rise, soil dries out, people start using more water outdoors and reservoir levels deplete.

Conserving water saves you money on your water bill and leaves more water for you and your neighbors as the drought continues. Texas Water Utilities provides the following tips for conserving outdoor water use this summer.

• Water your yard in the morning or evening. By choosing a time of day with minimal direct sunlight (before sunrise is typically best), you can help to avoid water loss through evaporation before it can soak into the soil.

• Monitor your sprinkler system. If your landscaping is equipped with a sprinkler system, ensure there are no leaks in the system and that the heads are watering only what they should (plants/landscaping). Monitor the weather regularly to ensure you do not water on a rainy day.

• Use the tuna can method. Place an empty tuna can on the part of your lawn that is being watered. Once the tuna can is filled, turn off your sprinkler. This ensures your lawn has received sufficient water for the week.
If water is running off your lawn, you may need to split this watering into two or three separate applications. It is a balancing act to water enough to promote deep root growth while also not spreading out watering so much that plants experience heat stress.

•Use a commercial car wash. Washing your car at home uses about 116 gallons of water, whereas a commercial car wash uses about 60 percent less water. Commercial car washes are required to properly dispose of wastewater including cleaning products, and many filter and recycle their water.
If washing your car at home, use nontoxic, phosphate-free soaps sparingly and wash on a pervious surface such as grass or gravel to help filter runoff. Minimize runoff by reducing water use, using a spray nozzle to restrict water flow and wring out sponges/rags over a bucket or sink. Waterless car wash products for spot cleaning are a great way to conserve water.

•Regularly maintain your landscape. Replace mulch around shrubs and garden plants to help them retain moisture. Remove weeds and thatch as necessary so they don’t compete with your desired plants for water.

•Minimize or eliminate fertilizer. Fertilizer encourages thirsty new growth, causing your landscape to require additional water. If you need fertilizer, look for a product that contains “natural organic” or “slow-release” ingredients. Use native plants in your yard to avoid the need for fertilizers and pesticides and use less water.

•Raise your lawn mower cutting height. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth and a more drought resistant lawn. Cutting off more than one-third of the blade of grass at once could shock the plant, preventing it from healthy growth. Mulching the grass clippings back onto your lawn provides moisture, organic, and fertilizer content, which reduces the need for water.

•Try xeriscaping. This landscaping literally means to conserve water—”xeri” means “dry”, therefore xeriscaping is “dry landscaping.” It requires less maintenance and is good for the environment. Consider using native drought-tolerant plants such as Texas sage, Texas redbud, desert willow and trailing lantana.
Much of the water consumed by an average American household is used outdoors. It is here where we can make simple but significant changes that will have a positive effect.

Small changes, if done on a large scale, add up to big change. Every drop counts and every Texan can make a difference.

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