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State parks reopen, wildfires continue with warnings of extreme danger

Smoke Rider Fire in Central Texas

Smoke can be seen from the Smoke Rider Fire in Blanco County on Tuesday, Aug. 2. The wildfire was 70 percent contained as of Friday, Aug. 5. Photo courtesy of Walter Flocke/Texas A&M Forest Service

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Pedernales Falls State Park reopened after closing Wednesday, Aug. 3, to the public due to nearby wildfires. Enchanted Rock reopened on Thursday and Pedernales Falls on Friday.

The Big Sky Fire near Fredericksburg in Gillespie County and the Smoke Rider Fire in Blanco County have been burning since Tuesday, Aug. 2. Three Blanco County homes and an RV have been lost so far in the Smoke Rider Fire.

Marble Falls Fire Rescue and the Marble Falls Volunteer Fire Department answered the initial call on Tuesday to the Smoke Rider Fire, sending about five units and 10 people, according to Fire Rescue Chief Russel Sander. He said all Burnet County emergency services are on high alert as Central Texas continues to suffer from triple-digit temperatures and drought conditions.

“The chiefs of this county are in constant conversation about the danger and the resource status to ensure we are maintaining adequate coverage,” Sander said. 

Staff are being added for peak fire time, which can change but is roughly from around noon to about sunset. 

“We are under extreme fire danger,” Sander said. “We are asking that everyone be very cautious when welding, grinding, even barbecuing. If you are pulling a trailer, make sure chains are not dragging. All it takes is a little spark.” 

Equipment and personnel from the Texas A&M Forest Service stationed at the rodeo grounds on U.S. 281 in Marble Falls have been sent to the Smoke Rider Fire, which covers 1,210 acres in Blanco and Hays counties. It was 70 percent contained as of mid-day Friday, Aug. 5.  

Covering 1,459 acres, the Big Sky blaze was 70 percent contained as of Friday.

Firefighters from the Marble Falls Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched during the initial callout for the blaze in Blanco County, but none are currently on the scene.