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Wildfire burns south of popular Enchanted Rock

 Big Sky Fire burns in the distance in northern Gillespie County
Texas Forest Service
Big Sky Fire burns in the distance in northern Gillespie County

The "Big Sky" wildfire has charred more than 1,400 acres south of Enchanted Rock in Gillespie County since Tuesday afternoon.

It was reported to be 50% contained as of Wednesday evening.

Two parks, the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Pedernales Falls State Park, closed as a precaution. Enchanted Rock reopened Thursday morning, and Pedernales Falls will reopen at noon on Thursday. Both are very popular summer tourist destinations.

The fire is located in a rugged area halfway between Enchanted Rock and Fredericksburg, or 9 miles north of the city.

Texas Forest Service spokesperson Kari Hines said no homes have been damaged, but other structures have.

"There are reports of damage to some outbuildings. No reports of residences either damaged or destroyed," she said.

The Gillespie County Sheriff's Department is warning residents to stay out of the area.

The Texas Forest Service reports local authorities requested their assistance around noon on Tuesday.

"We have over seven engines. We have four pieces of heavy equipment and we also have what we call an air attack, so a plane that's sort of eyes of the sky. We also have three single-engine air tankers as well," she said.

Much of the Hill Country, like Texas in general, is in the grip of an extreme drought. Low humidity, high winds. and rugged terrain can complicate firefighting efforts.

Hines said hand crews have "boots on the ground" to fight the fire in areas difficult to reach with vehicles.

Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Brian Kirkpatrick has been a journalist in Texas most of his life, covering San Antonio news since 1993, including the deadly October 1998 flooding, the arrival of the Toyota plant in 2003, and the base closure and realignments in 2005.
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