Forest Service helicopters stayed busy dropping water on hot spots that continued flaring up on Saturday, but by evening the fire that had scorched hundreds of acres in northern Somervell County appeared to be contained.
Four heavy helicopters, four small planes, 10 engines, four dozers from the Forestry Service, one sizer from a private citizen, nine units from various departments of Hood County Fire Department, eight units from the Somervell County VFD and approximately 150 firefighters were used at the fire.
Twenty homes were in the path of the blaze, but all so far have been saved, according to the Somervell County Fire Department. The Davis family's historical home and the Engstrom home were among those saved.
"We've kept it contained," said Dwayne Griffin, the county's emergency management coordinator. "We're just mopping up spot fires today."
"Great job by our fire department and I cannot say enough about Hood County," Griffin added. "Our neighbors have been here the whole time. Thank you to all the firefighters that have been here."
In addition to Hood County, volunteer firefighers from Tolar and the Stephenville Fire Department helped the county's first responders.
The Forest Service on Saturday used a GPS device to measure the exact number of acres burned - 445 acres, Griffin said.
"It looked huge, but it was long and narrow," he added.
He and firefighters took a break Saturday afternoon under a blue trap at the Tres Changos Ranch on County Road 1008. Owners Tres and Virginia Riley opened their property to firefighters and sheriff's deputies as a staging area away from the blaze, put out a cooler with lemonade and water, set out chairs and bought food. It made for an nice oasis from the smoke and a good viewing area to see where new fires were igniting in the hills.
"They told us 'thank you,' but we were thanking them," Virginia said. "We can't thank them enough."
Firefighting crews were out at first light Saturday to put out any remaining hot spots. More ignited in the afternoon as temperatures rose and the humidity decreased.
The Forest Service also pumped water out of the Paluxy River, which still has some water in it upstream, and stored it in a 1,000-gallon folding tank to help the helicopters extinguish the fires.
No injuries were reported despite the intense heat.
Meanwhile, another fire broke out Saturday to the east in Johnson County.
"Several of our assets will be leaving today to go assist on that fire," Griffin said Sunday morning on his office's Facebook site.
Please see Wednesday's print edition of the Reporter for a complete report and photos.