Fighting the Old Potato Fire: How the Austin area is dealing with yet anotherTexas wildfire
A new wildfire in Bastrop County — the same area near Austin ravaged by a massive wildfire over Labor Day weekend — has grown to 1,000 acres and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes. Still, no homes have been lost, and firefighters had the blaze 25 percent contained on Wednesday.
This blaze has been dubbed The Old Potato Fire because it's near Old Potato Road in Bastrop. Yes, Texas has had so many wildfires this summer that they're being named like hurricanes.
According to the Texas Forest Service the difference in keeping this fire in check has air support. Three DC-10 tankers attacked the fire early, preventing it from expanding as quickly as last month's fire. At that time, the firefighting planes were busy on other fires and unable to help immediately.
This is the second time many of those evacuated have been forced to leave their homes according to a report from KXAN — Austin's NBC affiliate.
Overnight, 100 firefighters and six DC-10 airplanes kept the Old Potato Fire in check. Flames scorched those 1,000 acres starting Tuesday afternoon and forced the evacuation of 30 homes. According to KXAN, a number of families voluntarily evacuated, a sign of the nervousness that has overtaken a county devasted just one month ago.
Firefighters say light winds, higher humidity and the availability of those firefighting planes all combined to hold this fire down and avoid the destruction of any homes. While the fire appears controlled for now, the dry conditions caused by the worst drought in Texas history still make for a difficult and challenging task.
Photos of the fire show huge plumes of smoke rising against a stark blue sky. It's a sight Texans could do without.
The fire comes one month after one of the largest fires in Texas history destroyed 1,500 homes and killed two people. Fundraisers are underway to help victims of that fire and the cleanup continues.