Hidden Pines Wildfire in Bastrop County Burns 3,500 Acres, Still 'Very Active'
UPDATE 11:30 pm: According to the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office, Harmon Road evacuations have begun on a voluntary basis only at this time.
UPDATE 11 pm: As fire and emergency crews continue to battle the Hidden Pines fire in Bastrop County, 150 homes have now been declared threatened, and officials are starting to evacuate homes on Harmon Road.
UPDATE 10:45 pm: More evacuations have been ordered, via the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office:
Evacuation Notice: Village Forest, Alum Creek form SH 71 to Park Road 1c, Tree Top, Wild Bird Loop. Please evacuate the area.
— Bastrop County SO (@BastropCountySO) October 15, 2015
UPDATE 10:30 pm: The Texas A&M Forest Service now reports that the Hidden Pines fire has covered 3,500 acres.
The fire is still 10% contained, with "very active fire behavior."
UPDATE 9:10 pm: In addition to the 9 homes destroyed earlier by the Hidden Pines fire, the Texas A&M Forest Service reports that 100 homes in the area are threatened. The fire is still at about 10% containment. Local road closures and evacuations are still in effect, though 71 is open in both directions, according to TxDoT.
UPDATE 7:46 pm: Bastrop County Emergency Management has confirmed nine homes have been lost to the wildfire. Firefighters are trying to confirm any additional damaged or destroyed homes.
UPDATE 6:04 pm: The Texas Forest Service now says the Hidden Pines fire is just 10% contained, due to growth of the fire. It was earlier estimated to be 50% contained.
UPDATE 4:40 pm: Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape has signed a disaster declaration, as the Hidden Pines fire continues to burn.
Bastrop County Emergency Management Director Mike Fisher says he expects the Hidden Pines Fire may grow to 2,000 acres by tonight. Speaking to reporters a short time ago, Fisher said he didn't "see the end of this anytime soon," adding that he expected to be fighting this fire for at least several days.
The Bastrop County Sheriff says no homes have been burned in the fire, though some small outbuildings and three vehicles have been destroyed.
UPDATE 4:00 pm: Bastrop Emergency Management officials are now evacuating people on Kingdom Path, O Grady Road and Cottletown Road, between O Grady and Kingdom Path.
UPDATE 1:45 pm: The Texas Forest Service says the Hidden Pines fire has now burned more than 1,500 acres. It is still 50 percent contained.
Here's a map of the areas that have been evacuated:
UPDATE 1:15 pm: Fire crews continue to battle the Hidden Pines fire in Bastrop County. The last update showed the fire at 375 acres and 50 percent contained. Emergency officials say the winds are now blowing from the south, pushing the fire in a northerly direction.
Some homes around Buescher State Park have been evacuated, including homes along the following roads:
· Ann Powell Rd
· KLBJ Rd
· Tall Pines Rd
· Turkey Trot Rd
· Park Hill Farms Rd
· Park Rd 1C from Old Antioch to KLBJ
· Old Antioch Rd from Park Rd 1C to Turkey Trot
· Raven Rd
· Kellar Rd
· Turkey Roost Rd
The Smithville Recreation Center is open to accept people being evacuated.
Bluebonnet Electric Co-op says it has cut power to 441 customers in the area as a safety precaution.
Power cut to 441 meters between Bastrop and Buescher state parks due to wildfire, for safety of residents and emergency crews.— Bluebonnet Electric (@BluebonnetCoop) October 14, 2015
UPDATE 10:40 am: The Texas Forest Service says the wildfire burning near Smithville in Bastrop County has grown to 375 acres and is 50% contained. Crews are continuing to battle fire, which has threatened several homes and buildings that are part of an M.D. Anderson cancer research center.
Smoke from the fire has been drifting into Austin, apparently prompting some people to call 911. Austin fire officials are asking people to not call 911 unless they smell smoke inside a building or see an actual fire. There are no wildfires in Austin at this time.
UPDATE Wednesday 7 a.m.: The latest numbers from the Texas A&M Forest Service indicate that the Hidden Pines fire has covered about 275 acres in Bastrop County, threatens nine homes in the area and is about 40 percent contained. The Bastrop Independent School District says there's "no present danger" to its campuses.
The National Weather Service warns "conditions will be favorable" for spreading any fires in Central Texas today, as humidity's expected to decrease to between 10 and 20 percent and wind speeds are expected to reach 5 to 10 mph.
UPDATE 9 p.m.: According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Luecke Fire, now named Hidden Pines, is 30% contained and now covers an area of about 250 acres. The fire has destroyed one structure. Those in the area of Ann Powell Road from Highway 71 to Park Road 1C should still be evacuated and can seek shelter at the Smithville Recreation Center. Livestock that needs to be evacuated can be sheltered at either Hill's Prairie Livestock Auction on Hwy 304 or at the Bastrop Rodeo and Show Barn. Pets can be taken to the Bastrop County animal shelter if needed.
UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: The Texas A&M Forest Service reports the Lueke Fire is at 200 acres and 10% contained, with 9 homes threatened. The Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management says people on Ann Powell Road, from Highway 71 to Park Road 1C should evacuate and says the Smithville Recreation Center is open as a shelter.
UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: Bastrop County Emergency Management says the Luecke fire, near Buescher State Park is at 150 acres.
The Luecke Fire in Bastrop County near Smithville is currently estimated at 150 acres and is 10% contained. More updates as info available.— BastropCntyTexas OEM (@BastropCntyOEM) October 13, 2015
UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: Fire officials say there is now only one fire burning in Bastrop County, the largest at about 125 acres, near Buescher State Park. The Texas A&M Forest Service says it is about 10% contained.
No homes have been damaged.
Meantime, fire officials in Williamson County say a grass fire south of Granger Lake on FM 1331 is now 80% contained and that no homes have been damaged in that fire.
EARLIER: Several fires have been reported in Bastrop County this afternoon, including one near Luecke that has grown to at least 50 acres, according to the Texas Forest Service.
That fire is forcing the evacuation of Buescher State Park.
Hot, dry and windy weather is making for elevated risk of fire in Central Texas today. Authorities are urging people to be careful with anything that could produce a spark.
Several other fires were reported through the afternoon, though some were apparently reported by people seeing smoke from other fires.
At least two fires have been confirmed. One in Cedar Creek has been contained, according to the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office.
— NWS San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) October 13, 2015