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Air ambulance service could temporarily station in Burnet

Burnet Municipal Airport receives FAA grant

The city of Burnet could get an air ambulance service at the Burnet Municipal Airport, even if it’s for a temporary period, after it authorized the city manager to begin negotiations with CareFlite.

During the Tuesday, Feb. 9, meeting, City Manager David Vaughn said CareFlite, an air ambulance service, had approached the city about housing staff and flight crew at the Central Fire Station while work is completed on its Buchanan Dam facility.

The fire station is located near the Burnet Municipal Airport.

Vaughn told councilors that CareFlite would like to begin services to the Highland Lakes beginning in March. The organization is looking to build a helicopter pad at the Buchanan Community Center and Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department in Buchanan Dam.

However, Vaughn said CareFlite needs a place to house the helicopter in case of bad weather as well as a temporary location for staff until the Buchanan Dam facility is completed.

“We do have space at the fire department,” the city manager said and added that CareFlite has indicated it will purchase fuel from the Burnet Municipal Airport.

The air ambulance service has also reached a deal with Chris Warden of Freedom Flyers in Burnet to station the helicopter at its hangar as it finishes long-term plans for a base in the Highland Lakes. The Freedom Flyer hangar is located at the airport.

Councilor Danny Lester asked about the possibility of CareFlite using the Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force hangar, which is closer to the fire station.

Vaughn said that, most of the time, the aircraft will be staged outside and closer to the fire station to be ready for takeoff in case of an emergency call. The helicopter would only go inside the hangar during bad weather.

However, Vaughn said he would discuss the idea with CareFlite and even the possibility of considering staging at the Burnet airport in the long term, either for hangar space in bad weather or a more permanent home.

“We’re going to look at all the options,” Vaughn said. “That’s a great business to have at the airport, and so we’d love to have them here one way or the other.”

Currently, Air Evac Lifeteam also provides air ambulance service to the Highland Lakes. It has a helicopter stationed behind Marble Falls Fire Rescue on Avenue N in Marble Falls. Austin-Travis County STAR Flight can also respond to the Highland Lakes for air medical services.

In other business, the City Council reviewed a preliminary plat for the proposed 44.64-acre subdivision located on the east side of the city east of Westfall Street, south of Texas 29, and west of the railroad tracks. The project is called the Creekfall subdivision.

Assistant City Manager Habib Erkan Jr. told the councilors that development is currently planned over two phases. Under the preliminary plat presented, it would allow for the acreage to be divided into 135 residential parcels and two water quality lots.

The property has water and sewer lines available, Erkan added.

This was a public hearing on the preliminary plat, so no action was taken. The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to take up the plat again during its March 1 meeting.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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