Evacuations and road closures were lifted Sunday morning for residents threatened by a massive, fast-moving wildfire north of Huntsville that broke out Friday evening and grew to nearly 4,430 acres.

The evacuations had been ordered for all residents living within three miles of Lost Indian Camp Road, where the Game Preserve Fire originated, and later for residents living west of the fire near Interstate 45. 

The evacuees included Tamara and Michael Perry, who own 20 acres of land on Cedar Ridge near the interstate on the western edge of the wildfire.

The couple returned home Sunday morning to find everything intact and safe, including their chickens and feral barn cat named “Boo Ratley.”

“House is perfect,” Tamara Perry said in a text message to the Landing. “So immensely thankful to God and all the firefighters, forestry service and other emergency personnel that saved all of our animals, property and homes on Cedar Ridge.”

But more than an hour after arriving home, Perry noticed multiple helicopters dumping water near their property within minutes of each other, prompting concerns the fire might be spreading again. “No evacuation orders yet,” she said.

Candice Loebsack’s 19-year-old daughter, Audrey Santillo, was also among the evacuees. A competitive equestrian rider in the midst of tryouts for the Sam Houston Equestrian Team, she loaded her and her roommate’s horse into a trailer Friday evening and drove to her parents’ house in Conroe.

Santillo was allowed to return to her home Saturday evening to collect a few more belongings, her mother said.  The air tasted like smoke.

“She’s nervous about going back,” Loebsack said. “She’s not sure if things could suddenly change again.”

As the Game Preserve Wildfire continued to spread Friday evening and Saturday, Walker County officials requested assistance from the Texas A&M Forest Service, prompting officials to close FM 247 and evacuate the rural area.

“There is a dozer line completely around the fire as of this morning,” the Crabb’s Prairie Volunteer Fire Department wrote in a Facebook update Sunday. “It will not be considered contained until all the lines have been cleaned. The new crews will be monitoring the dozer lines for several days and nights.”

Officials said Sunday morning that 40 percent of the fire was contained. By evening, the forest service announced that 60 percent was under control.

The cause of the Game Preserve Fire hasn’t yet been determined. The blaze started near Indian Camp Road, about nine miles northwest of Huntsville, according to an incident report published by the forest service.

Fueled by easterly winds and dry vegetation, the wildfire quickly burned a wide swath of grass, pine and yaupon toward Interstate 45 and became the largest active wildfire in Texas.

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Monroe Trombly is a public safety reporter at the Houston Landing. Monroe comes to Texas from Ohio. He most recently worked at the Columbus Dispatch, where he covered breaking and trending news. Before...