Out-of-control prescribed burn torches 200 acres near Buda

(photo courtesy of the Austin Fire Department)

A controlled burn by by Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation Division blazed out of control just west of Buda near FM 967 Wednesday and scorched nearly 200-plus acres of undeveloped land.
Palmer Buck, Austin Fire Department Division Chief, said a controlled burn that began 11 a.m. Wednesday crossed a designated “fire line” when workers reported that the flames had ignited a cedar tree. Fire crews had achieved about 400 acres of a prescribed 550-acre burn before it “escaped”.
“Conditions that cause us to have a burn ban in effect are also conditions that make for good prescribed burning to be effective,” Buck said. “Certainly, if it was raining out here, we wouldn’t get a good prescribed burn. So it’s that balance that we’re going to get a good controlled burn, but there is that danger that we have an escape like we had today.”
The fire, which was dubbed the Onion Creek fire, was confirmed to have spread over 250 additional acres on Austin city property, as well as the Aspen and Nestor ranches. There are no reports of any damage to people, property or livestock in the area.
STARFlight was deployed to help douse the flames and area fire departments from Kyle, Buda and North Hays County also provided assistance.
By 6 p.m. the fire was 66 percent contained, with the fire 100 percent contained by roughly 11 p.m.
According to the Austin Fire Department, a decision was made to complete the prescribed burn Wednesday evening. Crews from Austin Water Utility and Austin Fire remained on-site to monitor hot spots overnight.

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