The evacuation of the mostly rural county happened so fast that most people with livestock did not have time to gather their animals before they had to get out of harm's way. Jennifer Duhon with the Waller County Public Information Office says many landowners opened gates and cut fence lines to give their animals a chance to outrun the flames.
Fire Information as of 9:00am
Started: September 5, 2011
Structures Damaged or Destroyed: 23 damaged / 76 destroyed
Size: 18,960 acres- Approximate acreage by county: 10,604 acres in Waller County, 6,445 acres in Montgomery County, and 1,909 acres in Grimes County.
Containment: 95%- 100% containment is expected by 9/15/11
Information provided by InciWeb.
"Between that, and, also, the fire equipment having to use all means necessary — running through fences, cutting fences — to get to the structures to save them, there's just not a whole lot of fence line left."
Duhon says what people in Waller County could use now are donations of fencing supplies and money. She says the strategy of breaking fences helped keep livestock casualties to a minimum. But now there's the daunting task of reuniting escaped animals with their owners.
"So as residents are coming back in, and they're gathering up not only their animals, but maybe somebody else's animal that's wandered into their pasture — we're just going to have to utilize all social media, Facebook, etc., to say ,'I'm missing this horse. Have you seen it?' 'Yes, I've got it in my pasture.' So it's going to be a sorting. But residents need to be assured that most animals fared very well through this process."
Duhon says other than supplies and money to rebuild fences, one of the top needs is volunteer labor to help with the general cleanup. To send donations, visit the City of Waller Fire Information Webpage.