Crews make progress in two wildfires but worry weather will worsen conditions

Fire crews and emergency agencies set up a staging area for the Smith-West Fire where they have an incident command, including the Mable Falls Emergency Services Mobile Command. Fire crews have been fighting the blaze since Tuesday, July 17. Courtesy photo

Fire crews and emergency agencies set up a staging area for the Smith-West Fire where they have an incident command, including the Mable Falls Emergency Services Mobile Command. Fire crews have been fighting the blaze since Tuesday, July 17. Courtesy photo

FROM STAFF REPORTS

LLANO — Fire crews are still fighting two wildfires that have burned about 1,800 acres in Llano and Blanco counties, but they’ve made progress in battling the two separate blazes.

As of 11 a.m. Friday, July 20, the Blanco County Office of Emergency Management reported that the Smith-West Fire “is currently holding at 680 acres in size, and the fire is presently 90 percent contained.” The fire started Tuesday, July 17, in the area of Smith West Road in northern Blanco County. The blaze reached Llano County.

Crews from 45 agencies have assisted in fighting the Smith-West Fire.

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The CR 308 Fire in Llano County, just a few miles from the Smith-West Fire, was 60 percent contained and had burned about 1,200 acres as of 8 a.m. July 20, according to the Llano County Office of Emergency Management.

“No structures have been lost and no injuries have been reported,” the office reported.

Estimates of the size of the fires have been revised from earlier reports.

Ben Oakley of the Blanco County Office of Emergency Management wrote in the 11 a.m. situation report that, “Our overnight operations continued last night (July 19-20) and were very successful. Our strike teams of brush trucks worked around the clock to continue patrolling and holding the containment lines and performed interior attack operations to extinguish areas (that) were contributing to containment issues over the past few days.”

Fire crews and emergency agencies set up a staging area for the Smith-West Fire where they have an incident command, including the Mable Falls Emergency Services Mobile Command. Fire crews have been fighting the blaze since Tuesday, July 17. Courtesy photo
Fire crews and emergency agencies set up a staging area for the Smith-West Fire where they have an incident command, including the Mable Falls Emergency Services Mobile Command. Fire crews have been fighting the blaze since Tuesday, July 17. Courtesy photo

The report continued that “current fire activity is minimal,” though officials believe it could increase later in the afternoon July 20 as temperatures rise and humidity decreases.

“We will be scaling up resources as these weather conditions deteriorate later in the day,” the Blanco County report for the Smith-West Fire added.

Weather concerns also play a factor in the CR 308 Fire.

“Weather conditions remain a significant factor in working the scene,” the Llano County Office of Emergency Management report stated.

Officials also reiterated their request for people not to fly drones within a 5-mile radius of the fires as they are using aircraft to help fight the blazes.

Llano County officials praised the efforts of the various fire departments and other agencies that have assisted in the firefighting efforts.

“No single agency can hope to handle an incident of this magnitude alone, and, once again, the people of Llano County and the great state of Texas came through in magnificent fashion. For that, we are all most grateful and thank you all,” the Llano County Office of Emergency Management statement added.

editor@thepicayune.com

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