By Tony Farkas
GROVETON — The Groveton Fire Department battled numerous forest fires in the past week, some lightning caused, and several that were set deliberately.
Additionally, in the process of fighting fires across the county line near Corrigan, a small plane contracted to the Texas Forest Service to fight fires crashed in Lake Livingston.
Sheriff Woody Wallace said there is a $1,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of a “pyromaniac jackass.”
Wallace said fires have been deliberately set on Due Road, Rainey Road and Ed West Road at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday. Those fires are now being investigated by the Texas Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Texas Rangers and TCSO.
Anyone with cameras aimed at the area roads in the area of those fires are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office or (936) 639-TIPS (8477) .
At approximately 5 p.m. Aug. 9, a Fire Boss Single Engine Air Tanker/Scooper crashed in Lake Livingston while responding to wildfires in Polk County.
GVFD assisted the Texas A&M Forest Service on multiple ligahtning fires in the Corrigan area. The Forest Service does not own any aviation resources but instead uses federal aviation contracts through the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for all firefighting aircraft.
The pilot is in good health and sustained no injuries from the crash. Reports indicate that as the event unfolded the pilot’s emergency procedures training kicked in, enabling him to react quickly to the situation and safely extricate himself from the aircraft.
The National Transportation and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation.
On Aug. 9, Fountain View Fire burned 514 acres south of Groveton, but was 100 percent contained by Wednesday. All state resources have been released and the fire has transitioned back to the local unit.
Onlaska, Hudson, Pennington, Apple Springs, Trinity, Corrigan, and others assisted in the firefighting.