Fire departments from Somervell and surrounding counties rushed Thursday afternoon to the scene of a blaze in Johnson County near the upscale development The Retreat, where flames and smoke closed in on expensive homes.

The cause of the fire was not disclosed at publication time, but last week firefighters continued to try to put out smoldering hot spots that kept erupting after a July 3 wildfire. Brisk winds on Thursday fanned the flames, which could be seen from the road to The Retreat.

A billowing column of smoke was visible from Glen Rose. The center of the blaze was about 20 miles to the east in southwestern Johnson County.

Somervell and Johnson County firefighters, as well as volunteer fire departments from Brazos Point and other areas, responded.

At The Retreat, anxious homeowners talked with friends and family members on cell phones and watched Forest Service spotter planes soaring overhead, as a helicopter sucked water from a pond and sprayed it on the flames beyond the big rooftops of houses.

Please continue to check the Reporter for updates on this developing story.