Hays County encouraging residents to burn flood debris before burn ban

Stan Starrett's home on the Blanco River was badly damaged in the Wimberley flood.  After the deluge of rain, now he's dealing with the irony of needing some rain.

"We really haven't had a good rain since the flood.  You know and we're to the point now...I'd like to re-nourish my yard," Starrett said.

Hays County officials say they're not quite there yet but they are headed in the direction of a burn ban. Hays County Emergency Management Coordinator Kharley Smith says if homeowners need to burn their debris piles, they need to do it.  But use caution.

"We're still asking that the landowners either search through the pile or call in assistance to search through the piles...but they start burning those debris piles before it gets too dangerous to do so," Smith said.

The county is urging landowners to search the piles for the missing as well as lost family heirlooms. Starrett says volunteers helped him burn the debris on his property.

"Actually we moved everything to that site so we went through everything that was in there," he said.

On May 24th, 6-year-old William Charba and 4-year-old Leighton McComb were part of a group of families staying in Wimberley when a 44-foot surge of water picked the house up and smashed it into a bridge.  Smith says they're still searching for the 2 children.

"We're conducting search operations over the weekend mostly because we're using volunteer groups, search and rescue groups that are volunteering their time to come in and assist," Smith said.

Smith says there are still many parts of the river they haven't been able to access because of high water levels so they're planning a wide-area search toward the end of August.

"We're going to call in statewide search and rescue crews, additional volunteers and really do an organized entire river search," Smith said.

Hays County says even though it's a possibility they may never find the 2 children, they will never stop looking. As far as relief efforts, Hays County and the surrounding counties are joining forces to form the Blanco River Regional Long Term Recovery group.  All future donations, volunteers, and other resources will go through that group.

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