Travis County commissioners extend burn ban through Oct. 9 following wildfire

Travis County STAR Flight, an emergency helicopter service, helped contain a Sept. 7 brushfire by carrying and dropping water.

Travis County STAR Flight, an emergency helicopter service, helped contain a Sept. 7 brushfire by carrying and dropping water.

Travis County commissioners voted unanimously to extend an ongoing burn ban, set to expire Sept. 11, through Oct. 9 due to high temperatures and low moisture levels.

On Sept. 7, a 50-acre brushfire broke out in southwest Travis County just west of I-35 at Onion Creek. Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway called it a "significant" fire.

Thanks to a concerted effort and support from local fire departments and the Texas Forestry Service, the fire was contained within 24 hours.

However, Callaway said, the county remains at risk for another such fire, due to hotter-than-usual temperatures and a deficit of moisture.

“Climate change is occurring,” he said at a Sept. 10 meeting of the Commissioners Court. "It’s unpredictable.”

The fire was caused by an accidental violation of the previous burn ban, per Callaway.

“It just shows how important it is to have that burn ban in place,” he said.

A number of area agencies worked to contain the fire, including the Austin Fire Department, Travis County STAR Flight and departments from neighboring Hays County.

“It was quite an effective and multi-jurisdictional response,” said Chuck Brotherton, county executive for emergency services. “This is something these folks are doing routinely at this point.”
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