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Fire conditions high to very high

Texas fire conditions

The Texas A&M Forest Service fire forecast lists the Highland Lakes in the ‘moderate’ to ‘very high’ categories through at least Friday, March 18. Texas A&M Forest Service graphic

Burnet County fire conditions will increase to “very high” Friday, March 18, after rating “high” Thursday, March 17, and “moderate” Wednesday, March 16, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported.  Llano County is considered “high” for Thursday and “very high” over the weekend.

“It’s very dry out there,” said Marble Falls Fire Marshal Thomas Crane. “We’ve had little in the way of rain. We’ve had some days with pretty low humidity, and the winds are up. It’s pristine conditions for wildfire.”

Highland Lakes-area fire departments have contended with a number of recent blazes, including a 5-acre grassfire in the vicinity of CR 401 and Texas 71 in Spicewood that was started by a blown-out tire on a trailer towed behind a truck. On Feb. 23, sparks from a chain being dragged behind a truck sparked a fire that burned 40 acres and multiple hay bales at Honeymoon Ranch on RR 1431 west of Marble Falls.

A larger fire, the Buddy Fire in western Blanco County, burned about 1,400 acres over the previous weekend but was 100 percent contained as of March 16.

“We’ve responded to a number of fires along the roadside,” Crane said. “We’ve had a number of small fires on the side of the road on (U.S.) 281.”

Each of those fires had the potential to grow into a larger one. 

Currently, Burnet and Llano counties are under burn bans as is the city of Marble Falls and other Highland Lakes municipalities. If you live in a city, check with its government before conducting any outdoor burning. While outdoor cooking is allowed under the Marble Falls burn ban, Crane advised people to have a water source nearby.

Often, the term “wildfire” can be misleading, causing people to think these blazes only occur in the wild or unpopulated areas. Even if you live in a city or subdivision, you could be at risk, Crane said.

“Marble Falls is built into what’s called urban interface because (our structures) interface with a lot of brush,” he explained. 

Other Highland Lakes communities have a similar relationship with the natural landscape. 

The key to preventing wildfires is common sense, Crane said.

“The conditions are just right for wildfires,” he added. “And until we get some moderate rain, it’s probably going to stay that way.”

daniel@thepicayune.com