Picture That -

Driving south  from Montgomery

Highway 231

We lived on highway 2626 in Newton County from 1993-2006  We experienced this 17,000 acre forest fire. I will post photos of what our almost 200 acre farm looked like after the fire with personal first person account.

 om: Ypmiller50@cs.com
Subject: Update on fires
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2000 23:29:33 EDT
This is an article that appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper today.
On our local news in Corpus Christi, it said that the fire was still going,
and there had been 6 homes lost.
Please pray for rain!

Here is the article:
NEWTON - Chief Deputy Constable Holton "Bubba" Johnson experienced a feeling
of winter as he slowly drove east on Farm Road 2626 through the heart of
Newton County's wildfires.

The devastation is evident off FM 2626 in Newton County as dry conditions
helped fire destroyed thousands of acres.

Nothing but charred land could be seen from his patrol car's windows. Left
standing were the tall, blackened skeletons of pines and other trees - the
remnants of wildfires that have plagued this county for eight consecutive

"It's pitiful, ain't it?" Johnson said Thursday. "It almost looks like winter
out there but without the snow."

Texas Forest Service officials say about 15,000 acres of land have been
blackened by wildfires that erupted last week south of Burkeville. Six homes
and several outbuildings have been destroyed.

The fires reached U.S. 190 on Thursday and, at one time, jumped the highway,
but favorable winds, increasing humidity and droves of firefighters kept the
flames from continuing their southerly course.

"It has helped quite a bit," said Mahlon Hammetter, a spokesman for the Texas
Forest Service. "I think we're supposed to be getting a little bit more
humidity in and that will help even more."

The Moore Branch fire, so named for the creek that flows to the Sabine River,
continued to burn Thursday night, but officials reopened U.S. 190 to traffic.

Farm Road 2626 remained closed late Thursday, according to the Newton County
Sheriff's Department. Schools in Newton also remained closed. Classes aren't
expected to resume until Monday, according to the sheriff's department.

The Newton County fire was the only major wildfire in Southeast Texas that
the Texas Forest Service had yet to claim as contained, although they were
close, said spokesman Dale Armstrong.

Light rain did fall in some parts of Newton County Thursday offering some
respite to firefighters.

The rainfall, however, wasn't enough to register as anything more than a
trace at the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, La.

Meteorologist John Trares said chances for rain are better today and will
continue to improve into Saturday.

"We're going to get the rain, but it's just going to be light," Trares said.
"Which is good, there's nothing wrong with that but the accumulation will not
be as much as we had hoped."

He said the forecast calls for up to 11/4 inch of rain over a two-day period
ending Saturday night with temperatures cooler than the record-breaking,
triple-digit figures the region has experienced during the last week.

"They're not calling for heavy rain, so the only way to get that is through
continuous light rainfall," Trares said.

Trares said highs would be in the mid-to-upper 80s with lows in the low 70s
for today and Saturday.

Paul Kocian, a resource protection specialist with the Texas Forest Service,
said smaller wildfires in Hardin, Jasper, Liberty and Tyler counties had been
contained Thursday, with firefighters concentrating on dousing hot spots.

"Everything is looking real good right now," Kocian said.

Fires near the Wildwood community in north Hardin County and near Spurger in
Tyler County were contained and brought under control by late Thursday

Much of the Texas Forest Service's firefighting effort was still focused on
the Moore Branch Fire in Newton County, where a team of forest fire experts
from Florida was called in to help battle the blaze.

National Guard Blackhawk helicopters continued to dump water on the fires.
Dozers continued to plow barriers and airplanes continued to pepper areas
with fire retardant.

Georgie Williamson was one of the lucky homeowners on Farm Road 2626 whose
home escaped damage.

The house next door didn't survive. Flames destroyed it Tuesday and crept
into Williamson's front yard.

"I'm real surprised this building didn't go," said Bobby Scott, a friend of
Williamson's. "When the wind started blowing, that's all you could see is a
wall of flames."

Scott credits firefighters and the metal roof on Williamson's house with
sparing it from destruction.

"We saved a lot of these homes out here," said Johnson, the deputy chief
constable. "I tell you what - when the next big rain comes, people are going
to look up and thank the Lord and thank him for all the things they've taken
for granted."