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September 5, 2013

Labor Day blaze underscore danger

Statewide index shows Henderson County is one of the driest in the state of Texas

Athens — The Labor Day weekend was the kickoff for more than football season. It also kicked off an intense week for East Texas firefighters.

Henderson County was the site of a major blaze that ignited on Peach Tree Road in Gun Barrel City Tuesday afternoon and kept firefighters  busy well into the night. 

Gun Barrel City Fire Department personnel answered the call shortly after 2 p.m., and soon discovered they were in for a battle. As the afternoon went on, fire departments from Payne Springs, Eustace, Log Cabin, Trinidad and Tool were also paged out.  The Texas Forest Service assisted with personnel and bulldozers to help control the fire’s spread through the brushy area.

GBCVD reported that the flames scorched 60 acres, but no one was injured and firefighters kept it from reaching any structures. Firefighters cleared the scene at 9:15 p.m.

The fire was one of many since Labor Day that required the assistance of the Texas Forest Service. On Monday, the service responded to 26 fires that burned 401 acres. On Tuesday, six fires consumed 204 acres, followed by five fires and 105 acres on Wednesday.

In addition to the Peach Tree fire, the Forest Service also responded to a fire in northwest Henderson County and another along the Anderson County line.

Henderson County remains under a burn ban, as well as more than 20 other counties in East Texas. The Keetch-Byrum index places Henderson County in the driest category with a reading of 714. The county is one of the 20 driest of the 254 in the state.

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