MOUNT ENTERPRISE, Texas (KETK) – A large forest fire in Rusk County burned roughly 49 acres as of Monday afternoon.

Officials called it the Hollow Rock Branch Fire, and it was contained around 7:30 p.m.

A large plume of smoke was reported near Mount Enterprise around 2 p.m., fire officials say, and the fire was so far back in the woods they were not able to find it immediately. To find the fire, they used a drone.

“We really had limited access by vehicle,” Rusk County Fire Marshal Terry Linder said. “We’re using our drone to go up, get a good eye on this fire, see where the hottest areas are and even map it.”

Lindley said that with it being a higher humidity day, the fire did not move very fast. There were also no homes in danger, he said.

Still, officials urge people to be responsible and not burn until the risk decreases.

“We’ve been watching the weather, and at first we were anticipating more rain, but unfortunately the closer that we have gotten it looks like we may have less rainfall than we expected,” Linder said. “We are going to continue to monitor. Right now, we do not have a burn ban, but if we keep on seeing the fires and we don’t receive more precipitation, we may have to go back and look at asking for a burn ban again.” 

This is just one of dozens of fires that first responders have been battling in recent days. Nacogdoches and Rains counties are both under burn bans at this time.

Officials with the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management say that the fire was believed to have been started by a lightning strike that occurred Sunday night.

“Since Thursday, we have been to nearly 40 fires. Most of which were over the weekend with lower humidities. However, even today at higher humidity levels, our fire departments have been to about 7 fires,” said Linder.

The fire marshal reminds residents that if they’re going to burn, to do it after there has been rain and look for moisture on the ground.

“These days that are dry, hot, and windy are not good days to burn.”

Rusk County Fire Marshal Terry Linder