Update 5:30 p.m.: The fire has expanded north and is currently burning in Cherokee County on State Hwy 204. The fire has unexpectedly moved north due tog winds. 200 acreas have been burned. The fire has jumped containment barriers near Douglass and north of Lilbert. Residents in the Dextra Community in northern Nacogdoches County have been alerted that they may have to evacuate. There are approximately eight homes in the Dextra Community. Hwy 204 and FM 1648 remain open, but may be closed. CR 3 and Hwy 21 remain closed at this time.
Update at 2:40 p.m. Less than two hours after the Angelina River Bottom Fire was reported contained on Wednesday, it reared it's head again in two separate locations, including the original Lilbert site in Nacogdoches County and a newly ignited site off of state Hwy. 204 between Sacul and Reklaw in Cherokee County.
At 12:40 p.m. Wednesday: The Angelina River Bottom Fire that's consumed approximately 3,500 acres in Nacogdoches County and 1,000 in Cherokee County was considered contained by noon Wednesday on the Nacogdoches side of the river, although it continued to burn.
"There is still some fire, but it's contained," Nacogdoches County Judge Joe English said in providing a noon update. "It's under control, although we do have some areas around the river that are still burning."
The anticipated tanker planes that had been scheduled to fly over the fire on several occasions during the past 24 hours were on standby at the Gregg County airport, English said, adding that because no subdivisions with homes were being threatened and the fire had been contained, the Texas Forest Service canceled the Nacogdoches County fly-over.
"The way the fire is burning, it's not in one particular area," he said. "It's a lot of money when they do a drop. There's still on standby, and we can still use them if we need to."
But the fire continued to spread in Cherokee County.
State Highway 21 west of Douglass will remain closed today and more than likely will be closed tomorrow due to the fire burning on the Cherokee County side, according to English. County Road 3 remains closed today due to smoke and the number of emergency vehicles traveling that roadway.
No structures have been destroyed and no evacuations are taking place today in Nacogdoches County.
According to information from Cherokeean Herald newspaper in Rusk, between 50 and 100 homes were evacuated Tuesday. The evacuation was still active Wednesday morning, according to Michael Carter, dispatch sergeant for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
The evacuation area was bordered along FM 343 at the north from the Angelina River to the Atoy community, from CR 851 to CR 241 and south to Hwy. 21 at Linwood, Carter said.
Cherokee County residents will be notified through local media outlets when they can return home, he said.
Lufkin Fire Academy students were in the Lilbert area where the fire had already burned monitoring that area and making sure smoldering stumps and trees were extinguished, English said.
"We have resources there going back over the fire to make sure it doesn't flare back up," he said. "And we still have volunteer fire departments on standby on our side working the existing fire."
Local officials were warning of health related issues associated with the heavy smoke from the fire, advising those with lung or respiratory problems to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities. The skies were expected to remain smoky today.
Firefighters remain well-stocked by generous people in the community, English said. Companies like Brookshire Brothers, Lowe's and Walmart have generously donated supplies, he said.
Additionally, companies like H.W. Hart and Neighbors which normally haul saltwater have emptied their 18-wheelers and filled them with fresh water to supply firefighting trucks. Select Energy out of Chireno donated bulldozers for the firefighting effort. English expresses the county's appreciation to these companies.