STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BURNET COUNTY — Two fires burned dozens of acres and destroyed a manufactured home just off adjacent roads May 1 in a remote part of Burnet County. Several agencies, including an Austin-based helicopter crew, battled the blazes.
A family reported the first fire at 3:22 p.m. in the 100 block of Meador Road, just off CR 123 in Burnet County.
Marcial and Elvira Marichalar and their 17-year-old son lost all their possessions when their manufactured home was destroyed by the fire.
“We received a call that they had a fire in an outbuilding. The original fire was in a shed in the back, and it burned into the home,” Marble Falls Volunteer Fire Chief Chuck Dear said. “The shed was on the ground when we got there. The fire was in the roof of the (home).”
Several agencies, including Granite Shoals Fire Rescue and Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department, assisted at the scene.
A family member at the scene said she believes the fire was caused by “possibly something electrical in the storage shed.”
No injuries were reported, and two pets were recovered at the scene.
“When we were doing mop-up (checking for hot spots), that’s when we found two cats still alive,” Dear said.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family.
A second blaze contained to pastureland nearby followed as volunteers continued to work the structure fire.
“As we were on (the residential fire), they toned out to the (CR) 120B fire,” he said of the second fire, which was reported at 3:41 p.m.
Because of dwindling resources, Burnet city and volunteer agencies were called to the brush fire.
An Austin-based firefighting helicopter also arrived to help douse the blaze, which scorched 30 acres, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials who surveyed the scene adjacent to Longhorn Cavern State Park.
Concerns over a potential runaway blaze prompted the request for air support.
“Right now, we haven’t had any measurable precipitation in awhile, so the grass is getting to where it crackles,” Dear said.
As hotter summer conditions approach, the fire danger could grow.
“Right now, we’re not in a ‘Red Flag Warning’ or a burn ban,” he said. “With us being in an agriculture area, we have to watch when people are mowing fields when you have equipment and there’s a spark.
“When you’re burning your trash, you need to do it in a barrel,” Dear added. “If it gets to the point where the humidity starts dropping, it will make it where the fire will move faster.”
Contact the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office or law enforcement agency in your city to inform the entities of plans to conduct a controlled burn.