Around this time eight years ago, parts of East and Central Texas were nearly obliterated when severe drought and record summer heat baked the landscape, leading to some of the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history.

Beginning Sept. 5, 2011, the Tri-County wildfire, also known as the Riley Road Fire, started in the Magnolia area in Grimes County and quickly spread to Montgomery and Waller counties over a period of 28 days straight, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. 

Considered the largest wildland urban interface fire in East Texas history, the fire rapidly spread across nearly 20,000 acres, destroying 73 homes, according to the Texas Forest Service.  It was later discovered the fire was started by a lightning strike and stopped just short of the Harris County line in Houston.

"The first chance for sleep came after about 24-36 hours on the line for many of our fire crews. We first slept on the ground or in our trucks, the second night residents brought blankets and pillows, and by the third night and beyond, the community made sure we had everything needed to continue the the fight," officials with the Montgomery County Fire Marshall's Office wrote in a Sept. 12 Facebook post. "[There were] so many citizen volunteers we had to bring them by bus to the Magnolia Command Post in shifts. [It was] the worst two weeks and the best two weeks we've ever witnessed in Montgomery County."

RELATED: Report: lightning likely sparked worst wildfire in East Texas history

But the Tri-County wildfire was only one of several that made Sept. 2011 a record month for the state. During the entire month, 4,064 fires burned 300,279 acres and destroyed 2,139 homes across Texas, according to the Texas Forest Service.

The month started with the Bastrop Complex fire on Sept. 4, just one day before the Tri-County Fire. Considered the most destructive blaze in state history, the Bastrop fire spread across 32,4000 acres over a period of 37 days, destroying 1,660 homes, according to the Texas Forest Service.

That same day, three other massive wildfires broke out - the Steiner Ranch Fire in Travis County, the Bear Creek Fire in Cass and Marion counties and the Spicewood Fire in Travis County. The same day as the Tri-County Fire, the Moonglow Fire broke out in Williamson County, spreading across 84 acres over a period of two days.

ON HOUSTON CHRONICLE.COM: Dry weather prompts Texas officials to remind of 2011 catastrophic wildfires

During this time, four firefighters and six civilians lost their lives. The September wildfires were the last destructive fires of the wildfire season, which officially ended on Oct. 31, 2011, according to the Texas Forest Service.

Click through the photos above for a look back at the devastating 2011 Texas wildfires...

Rebecca Hennes covers community news. Read her on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | rebecca.hennes@chron.com 

Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/magnolia/news/article/2011-Tri-County-Texas-wildfires-photos-anniversary-14435506.php