It was a beautiful Sunday. Mild temperatures, a nice breeze, very low humidity and many people wanting to start Spring cleaning.
A little after noon the first call came in to the Splendora Fire Department for a grass fire on Magnolia Drive of US 59. Arriving on the scene they determined it was the same location of a multiple alarm house fire several months ago. The owner lit what was left of the house and burned it to the ground. In doing this and not keeping a watchful eye on the fire things got out of hand. He heard an explosion looked out and saw the pasture around the house on fire. By the time firefighters arrived the fire had already jumped three property lines and was threatening homes on the next street over.
Splendora called for help from Grangerland and New Caney to get it under control.
After almost two hours it was contained leaving just the structure burning. Within minutes another call came in for another large grass fire off Tram Road and Frye. As units arrived there it was determined many structures were threatened and once again the call went out for help.Grangerland responded from the first scene as did New Caney, Plum Grove was dispatched also.
On both fires the tops of the grass and leaves were dry giving the fire plenty of fuel. Below that was another story. Mud and soft ground at times pulling boots off firefighters. No trucks were able to get to the main body of the fire and hose lines had to be stretched hundreds of feet. Many trees within the burn area that were dead but still standing gave a chimney effect blowing embers and flames out the top starting additional fires. Firefighters needed to cut those trees to contain the fire.
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Most of the grass fire started by illegal burns. There is no burn ban in effect but there are state laws on outdoor burning and one even spells out what a resident of Montgomery County can burn.
In general residential garbage burning and all commercial burning is prohibited year round. Refuse burning near a neighborhood or on less than 5 acres is a Class C Misdemeanor, and violators can be fined up to $500 per occurrence.
The following is a general overview of outdoor burning rules and regulations.
Only small limbs ( less than 2” diameter) and leaves may be burned in neighborhoods, and the burning may not create a nuisance situation for another neighbor.
No business may burn waste or refuse at any time
Surface burning of land clearing debris is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and is generally not allowed.
Refuse or household trash may not be burned in or near a neighborhood.
Refuse or household trash may not be burned on rural property less than 5 acres.