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Thread: Massive wildfire near Smithville

  1. #1
    Mojo Riposte June Bug's Avatar
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    Massive wildfire near Smithville

    Dang, anybody know how close this is to Rocky Hill?

    Businesses destroyed, between Bastrop and Smithville off of Hwy 71

    Updated: Saturday, 28 Feb 2009, 7:36 PM CST
    Published : Saturday, 28 Feb 2009, 4:40 PM CST

    * Amy Peirce

    BASTROP, TEXAS (KXAN) - The Bastrop Fire Department and the Texas Forest Service are reporting that a wildfire has spread over 650 acres in areas of Bastrop and Smithville. Nearly 40% of the fire has been contained as of 6:30 p.m. The fire was caused by a fallen power line in a pasture north of Highway 71 at approximately 12:30 pm.

    At least 80 homes have been evacuated, with 10 already destroyed, in the area of Bastrop State Park. Two businesses, a cafe and a gift shop, have also been lost. Initially 50 homes were evacuated, but as the fire spread, a Smithville subdivision was forced to evacuate as well. The evacuations have reportedly affected up to 150 residents. Specifically, the fire has been fought in the area of Park Road 1 C, just north of Highway 71 E, which has partially closed down. There are no serious injuries reported at this point. One firefighter was treated on scene for smoke inhalation and released.

    The Bastrop Fire Department is being assisted by other units, including two air tankers, bulldozers and two black hawk helicopters, to combat the blaze. The Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald has signed a disaster declaration because they are in need of more resources. Authorities from the Texas Forest Service said that there were approximately 150 homes threatened by the fire.

    Many are claiming that the fire is the worst Bastrop has seen in over 60 years. Firefighters could do little from the ground to contain the spreading flames. The high winds are the cause of the quickly expanding fire. Winds speeds were recorded as up to 30 mph on the ground. The Texas Forest Service issued a wind warning on Friday to remind people of the heightened fire danger over the weekend.
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  2. #2
    I Build TOUGH Wheels Mattlikesbikes's Avatar
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    My in-laws were headed back to Katy via 71 and got turned back by the FD, they ended up on some back road that got them to 290.

    It seems smithville is not the only place on fire but there are a few fires along 71 in that area.

  3. #3
    MoJo Priest txstatebiker's Avatar
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    Made CNN front page

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    mOjOjOjO djames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    Dang, anybody know how close this is to Rocky Hill?
    Geez..I was just out there Thursday morning for a sunrise ride. Hope alls well

    The Statesman said, "the fire began at midday with a power line downed by a blown-over tree."

    "At 12:02 p.m., the electric co-op's control center got a call that a line had been downed in the Alum Creek area north of Highway 71 between Bastrop and Buescher state parks and that a power cable was "making popping noises," said Will Holford, a spokesman for Bluebonnet Electric Co-op."

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  5. #5
    Mojo Endo bandito's Avatar
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    Cool satellite photo of smoke plume blowing south, from News 8 Austin website...can't tell with this resolution exactly where RHR is though. Let's hope they were spared.


  6. #6
    MoJo Madman Huckleberry's Avatar
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    I'm at RHR right now. No worries here. Did the whole trail this evening. Had to drive through the state parks to get here though, due to the closure of 71.

    The real concern here is the dry trails. More loose rocks and sand than I've ever seen here.
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  7. #7
    mOjOjOjO djames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huckleberry View Post
    I'm at RHR right now. No worries here. Did the whole trail this evening. Had to drive through the state parks to get here though, due to the closure of 71...
    Whew..dodged that bullet. Thanx for the update, Huck.

    There's sumptin about riding on pine needles thru the Lost Pines of Bastrop County...
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  8. #8
    Mojo Riposte June Bug's Avatar
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    Fire is still going strong, but the north wind is chasing the fire south and Rocky Hill will continue to be safe. It is hoped that the Colorado River will form a natural fire barrier. I think 23 homes have burned at this point. Lots of evacuations going on.
    "Evacuations are being ordered along Felix Road, Allen Creek between 71 and 95 near Smithville and Cottle Road. Highway 71 at McAllister Road is being diverted in both directions. The fire has jumped the highway; firefighters say the wind is making it horrific to fight this fire."

    Be careful, y'all. Even a hot tailpipe touching tall grass or a single spark can start a fire in these ultra dry conditions -- everything is tinder dry.
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  9. #9
    Fuhlauto Balogna Ridenfool's Avatar
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    I was headed out to RHR with Kati's son and came across the fire at Cottletown Rd.

    My an old friend and all my motorcycles live up that road.

    We got the cars inside a metal building and he buldozed many trees from around his house. We were threatened with arrest at least five times while we were wrapping things up. When we left we could see flames a couple of hundred feet away.

    His house and shop survived. Despite being surrounded by pine trees on a hill. I think his motocross track worked as a good firebreak to slow it down.

    All of his neighbors lost their homes. I heard that something like 29 homes and 8 businesses were lost. I'm betting the count may climb. There's a lot of nooks and crannys in those woods with homes.
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  10. #10
    MoJo Mother Superior Chardog's Avatar
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    witnessed it Saturday

    We were backpacking in Bastrop SP w/ Mark H. Saturday afternoon and saw the smoke plume to the south. A first we thought it was clouds, but soon realized, wow that is a very big fire. Never smelled the smoke as we were up wind. Did worry a bit that another fire might start in the area and we would have to get up in the middle of the night and pack out quickly. Did notice increased traffic on Park Road 1A.
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  11. #11
    Recovering MTBaholic Ghost Rider's Avatar
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    drove through it on the way to houston saturday afternoon (2pmish)......from a distance I thought they were clouds as well .....till I got right up on it........must have driven through 2miles of this








    left houston at around 10pm sat for the return journey and when I got to Bastrop, 71 was freaking closed.......had to take 153 to 290!!!

    153 at midnight = exciting

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