GRAY COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - UPDATE: Tuesday, March 7
Three people have died in Gray County as they tried to save cattle in the area. Livestock was also lost, although it's unknown how many head of cattle were involved.
Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace and Sloan Everett were killed yesterday in Gray County, according to county authorities.
Devastation swept through Gray County yesterday, as first responders battled the Lefors East fire.
The acreage devastation is still apparent, but even more devastating are the lives lost.
Crockett and Wallace, his significant other, along with Sloan Everett pictured here with his family died trying to save their cattle.
"It can be going in one direction very fast and suddenly...it has a life of its own," says Sandi Martin, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Gray County. "It can do things and it's just very unfortunate that they got caught up in it."
At around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, an emergency alert was sent out to residents, though it was not mandatory. Martin says had they made the alert mandatory, she does not think it would have made a difference.
"Because people in the panhandle and particularly in gray county they are so independent and they are going to take care of what they have and their cattle is their livelihood," says Martin.
We traveled to McLean, where Cody was from. His friends tell us with tears in their eyes, he was a gentleman, and the ultimate cowboy.
And Sydney was a WT graduate who always had a smile on her face.
And Sloan, a sweet, godly family man and Baylor Alum.
It is clear those who know them best don't want them to be remembered for how they went, but who they were. And in our eyes, their actions spoke volumes about the strong bond between each of them and the great state of Texas.
The Texas A and M Forest Service says 135,000 acres have burned total and all resources were just released at 4:30 Tuesday morning. The fire reignited today, however. It is now said to be 65 percent contained.
Texas Forestry Services were called by Gray County to assist, however there were no resources available to fight the blaze there. They are now on scene assisting.
State fire marshals are en route today to investigate all three deaths as well as the cause of the wildfire.
Monday, March 6
Authorities say Gray County residents should "be prepared" to evacuate their homes due to a fire burning five miles north of Lefors late Monday afternoon.
The Gray County Sheriff's Office specifically alerted residents in the northeastern part of the county to be on high alert.
In neighboring Wheeler County, authorities evacuated Old Mobeetie and Mobeetie residents just before 6 p.m.
Authorities later lifted that evacuation around 6:50 p.m.
Gray County authorities say the fire jumped F.M. 2851 and has forced closures on that road and F.M. 1321.
It is unknown how many acres the fire has already burned.
The fire is one of several to to spark in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles Monday.