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Wildfire ignites near Hays/Blanco County line

Staff Report

UPDATE [Aug. 8 at 10:45 a.m.]: As of Aug. 8 at 9:54 a.m., the size of the fire was 1,210 acres and 100% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service incident viewer. Among the losses were seven homes and recreational vehicles with multiple barns and other equipment, according to the Blanco County Emergency Management.

UPDATE [Aug. 5 at 3:40 p.m.]: As of Aug. 4, the size of the fire was 1,210 acres and is at 70% containment. The increase in acreage is due to completion of accurate mapping. Previously, the western boundary of the fire had been estimated, but was completely mapped by Texas A&M Forest Service.

Local firefighters will continue working alongside Texas A&M Forest Service crews as they work towards 100% containment. Progress has been made by air and ground crews, but firefighters are expected to be on the scene an additional three days to complete containment.

An updated map of the Smoke Rider Fire as of Aug. 4. Photo via Blanco County Emergency Management.

UPDATE [Aug. 4 at 10 a.m.]: As of Aug. 3 at 5:45 p.m, the size of the fire was 800 acres and 60% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service incident viewer. No new evacuations have been requested. Damage assessment has started, and preliminary information is showing 9 structures were damaged or destroyed.

Preliminary map showing fire area. Photo via Texas A&M Forest Service.

UPDATE [Aug. 3 at 9:45 a.m.]: As of Aug. 2 at 8:40 p.m., the size of the fire was 800 acres and 30% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service incident viewer. On the morning of Aug. 3, Blanco County Emergency Management said that forward progression of the Smoke Rider fire was stopped. Multiple task forces with firefighters from Blanco, Hays and Travis Counties remained on scene along with dozers and ground crews from the Texas A&M Forest Service, and the containment line was progressing well. No additional evacuations have been ordered. Highway 290 and 165 are open, but watch out for firefighters when driving in the area as there are a significant number of fire units on scene and working along roadways.

The red dot indicates the current fire area. Screenshot from public.tfswildfires.com.

UPDATE [Aug. 2 at 6:55 p.m.]: As of 6 p.m., the size of the fire was 600 acres and 10% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service incident viewer.

ORIGINAL STORY

A 200-acre wildfire on the Hays/Blanco County line ignited around 1 p.m. on Aug. 2. 

The red dot indicates the initial fire area. Screenshot from public.tfswildfires.com.

The Smoke Rider Fire is moving northwest towards Highway 290 and has prompted evacuations in the area. A temporary evacuation center is in place at Blanco Methodist Church at 61 Pecan St in Blanco. FM 2325 to U.S. 290 is currently closed, and Highway 290 has been shut down at FM 3232. First responders are asking people to avoid the area. 

A closer view of the fire location. Screenshot from inciweb.nwcg.gov.

Texas A&M Forest Service has been requested to assist on the Smoke Rider Fire. They are currently working in unified command with the local jurisdiction alongside fire departments from Blanco and Hays counties. The agency is responding with ground crews, firefighters and aircraft, including one air attack platform, three fire bosses, three single engine air tankers, one Type 2 helicopter and two Texas Military Department Blackhawks. 

There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in place for the area over the fire area. Please avoid the area to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft.

More information on the fire and evacuations can be found on the Blanco County Office of Emergency Management and Hays County Office of Emergency Management Facebook pages. 

This is a developing story. 

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