Colorado County and area firefighters continue to battle a Labor Day weekend blaze that as of Tuesday had destroyed 11 homes.
The blaze, covering approximately 1,800 acres along Bailey Road near Columbus, also damaged four homes and 40 outbuildings were lost.
In addition to buildings, approximately 38 vehicles, including trailers, cars and tractors were destroyed.
The fire was believed to be about 55 percent contained as of press time but Columbus Volunteer Fire Department Chief Walter Glaeser expected it to be fully contained by Tuesday afternoon.
The fire was called in to the Texas Forest Service on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 11:50 a.m., believed to have been caused by a downed power line.
As of 4:35 p.m. the TFS had seven aircraft on the scene assisting local fire departments with efforts to extinguish the flames.
A command post was set up at Tommie Vaughn Auto Country and was used as a refueling station for fire trucks as well as a place for firefighters to rest and eat. Party Thyme Catering parked their trailer on the lot and fed the workers.
All roads in the county have reopened, however those traveling on Reese Lane and other roads affected will see dozer traffic as the forest service, military and private individuals work to scrape the ground to keep the fire from spreading.
“You’ll see smoke, but it’s not traveling,” Columbus Volunteer Fire Department Captain Dodie Dungen said.
In addition to CVFD, other departments from the area worked diligently to extinguish the flames including Bernardo, Frelsburg, New Ulm, Cat Spring, Rock Island, Sheridan, Oakland, Weimar, Shelby, Garwood, Bleiberville, Eagle Lake and Industry as well as Patterson, Midfield, El Campo and Sealy.
“Every day about 19 to 20 departments offered assistance,” Colorado County Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Rogers said. “The help that has come in is amazing.”
“I just want to thank everyone that help in any way,” Glaeser said.
Colorado County Judge Ty Prause filed a disaster declaration with the governor’s office Tuesday due to the Bailey wildfire and other wildfires during the same time frame caused by severe drought conditions.
Several other fires popped up in the county this weekend as well. There are reports of fires in Sheridan, homes lost in Eagle Lake, and in Weimar a residential fire was responded to in addition to a fire at UTEX.
Anyone wishing to donate to families affected by the fires may take items to First Baptist Church, 1700 Milam St. in Columbus.