Shelters Open to Receive Evacuees From Central Texas Fires
Stay informed about fires in the Greater Austin area
By Anne Harris,
11:32PM, Sun. Sep. 4, 2011
More than seven wildfires in the Greater Austin area were reported on Sunday, including those in Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Spicewood, Steiner Ranch, and Bastrop. Forecasts of continuing wind gusts of up to 30 mph through Monday, and ongoing dry conditions prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Watch for Labor Day.
Efforts by state and local firefighters continue, their ranks strained by heat exhaustion and fatigue. Check the Texas Forest Service's active fires map here. On Sunday afternoon, Austin Fire Department called in 25 off-duty firefighters to join the effort. Counties under continued wind advisories are Bastrop, Caldwell, De Witt, Fayette, Gonzales, Lavaca, Lee, Travis, and Williamson.
Of ongoing concern as of 1:00am, Monday, September 5th, are the following area fires:
A fire that started at around noon on Sunday in the Circle D subdivision near Bastrop connected with one north of it and just south of Highway 290. The fire subsequently spread to four other subdivisions, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes. By 11pm Sunday, the fire had hopped the Colorado river in two places and was reported to measure 16 miles long by four miles wide (more than 14,000 acres), destroying 300 homes and causing partial road closures on Highways 21 and 71. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative has relocated to its backup site, and has cut power in advance of the fire.
A 300-400 acre fire in Spicewood, near the southwest side of Lake Travis, heading east, and forcing evacuations in Fall Creek Estates and Pale Face Ranch Road. These evacuations are mandatory and call for residents to leave the area immediately. For more information on Spicewood fires call the Pedernales Fire Department at 512/264-1476. Agencies involved in this effort are Austin, Lake Travis, Westlake C-Bar, STARFlight 1 and 2, and the Pedernales and Spicewood Fire departments.
Crews continue to battle a brush fire in Steiner Ranch near Highway 620 and Mansfield Dam. All Steiner Ranch residents must follow mandatory evacuation, and are being directed to the Vandergrift High School shelter (see below).
To donate food and clothing to the Red Cross effort, call 512/928-4271, 800/928-4271. The Red Cross of Central Texas is operating the following shelters for evacuated residents:
Vandergrift High School, 9500 McNeil Drive near 2222.
Bastrop Middle School, 709 Old Austin Hwy., Bastrop
Smithville Recreation Center, 106 Royston St., Smithville
Dripping Springs Elementary School, 49400 RR 12, Dripping Springs
Ascension Catholic Church, 802 Pine Street, Bastrop
To register your whereabouts as an evacuee, call 512/581-4023. Evacuation updates are available at 512/974-6199.
Please note that the Briarcliff Community Center and Hendrickson High School shelters have been closed and those residents are directed to Vandergrift High School. Other shelters: Bastrop Church of Christ (287 FM 20, 512-303-4597).