Wildfire destroys homes, acreage
By LPR Staff
A legal burn last weekend spelled disaster for at least two families in the Maxwell area on Monday.
According to County Fire Marshal Jeff Wright, a property owner on William Pettus Road in western Caldwell County took advantage of the Caldwell County Commissioners” Court”s decision to lift an outdoor burning ban over the
weekend, and burned brush on his property during Saturday”s rain.
However, Wright said the brush piles retained heat and continued to smolder through the weekend, and resulted in a disatrous grass fire on Monday afternoon.
“When the wind picked up on Monday, it looks like some embers blew off his brush pile and sparked the fire,” Wright said.
The fire, which began behind a residential neighborhood on Glover Lane, destroyed two homes and at least two outbuildings as it chewed through 60 acres of land between Glover Lane and Garrett Trail on Monday afternoon.
The eight-hour firefighting operation included volunteer and professional fire departments from Caldwell and Hays Counties, including departments from Maxwell, Martindale, Lockhart, San Marcos, Kyle, Niederwald, Uhland, Lytton Springs and McMahan. The Texas Forest Service was also on scene with bulldozers to cut a path around the fire, while a StarFlight helicopter from Austin fought the blaze from the air.
The Commissioners Court temporarily lifted the burn ban last week after repeated requests from farmers and ranchers who said they needed to clear their properties to plan for spring planting.
“I”m very sorry that this happened and that these people lost their homes,” said Precinct The Commissioner Neto Madrigal. “We voted unanimously to lift the ban because we had received so many requests from the ranchers and because we felt like the weather was not going to provide a more favorable condition for burning than it did last week. But unfortunately, sometimes people don”t show good judgment and leave fires before they are completely and properly extinguished.”
Wright said the responsible property owner was cited for the actions leading to the wildfire. He said the offense is a Class C Misdemeanor which carries a $500 fine.