Destructive toll of Bearing Fire apparent from aerial tour

Lufkin Daily News
Monday, July 18, 2011 - 4:16pm

Lufkin, TX — Spanning more than 20,000 acres, the Bearing Fire is now 100 percent contained but its destructive toll is clear and impressive from the air, according to local pilots.

This week pilots Don Lymberry and Steve Reeves flew a Lufkin Daily News reporter and photographer over the fire ground, pointing out areas of importance inside the fire perimeter. Last month Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Kris Erikson explained why the area inside the perimeter is called a fire mosaic.

“When we draw a fire perimeter, we fly the fire and draw a line around every black spot we see, all around the outside edge. That doesn’t mean inside it’s all burned. We call it a fire mosaic,” she said. “The fire mosaic can be green, it can be brown, it can be a treetop that burned, an understory that burned. It can be a large green area. Most people go in here and are amazed because they go in here and think it’s all burned, but it’s not.”

Flying at 3,500 feet, the heart-shaped area charred in the blaze fingers out over more than 20,000 acres with areas of black, brown and green. Lymberry pointed out the area where the blaze began around 12:30 p.m. June 17, sparked by a wheel bearing of a trailer, according to Texas Forest Service officials.

“You can clearly see where it started and burned down to the containment wall the first group of firefighters set up at the start,” Lymberry said in the air Thursday.

Read the full story and see more photos here.

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