Grass fire scorches 150 acres in Hays County

The Kyle Fire Marshall says Monday afternoon's weather conditions were perfect for a fire to start.

“It was moving pretty fast. We had grass three or four feet high in some areas. In a manner of seconds it was just blowing right past it,” said Derick Mendoza, a resident describing the fire.

Video shot by Derick Mendoza shows just how easy it can be for a small fire to grow, quickly. The Kyle Fire Department says they got a call at 1:43 p.m. Monday about a grass fire on Peaceful Valley Drive, a rural area in Kyle.

That fire grew from a half acre to 150 acres, scorching everything in sight, including a shed and several cars. Mendoza says his volunteer firefighting training kicked in.

“I was just checking out what I could see and do. I tried to let animals out there loose, if any neighbors weren't home, assisted some neighbors,” said Mendoza.

Authorities say Monday was the perfect recipe for a fire to start. Wind gusts exceeded twenty miles an hour, humidity was low, and there was much fuel for the fire.

“As a result of the rain there's thick grass. When it dries out, with the first bit of cool weather, there’s a bunch of fuel on the ground,” said Mark Schultz, Kyle FD Fire Marshall.

The fire department says someone caused the fire accidentally, by openly burning trash. There was not a burn ban in place, but they say it's still wise to be weather aware.

“Any time the wind exceeds 20 miles an hour you don't want to be burning, period,” said Schultz.

A Texas A&M Forest Service map of conditions in Texas Monday showed high risk for fire in the Austin area. Tuesday indicates moderate risk.

“People need to be aware of fire dangers and wind advisories. If you have a small amount of trash, why put everybody else's lives at risk?", said Mendoza.

Mendoza and his family lost three acres of land in the fire, but he is just happy they didn't lose much more.

“Just wait. Wait until the county of fire departments says it's ok to burn. Otherwise people lose property out here,” said Mendoza.

Authorities in Hays County said multiple fire departments have contained a large grass fire near the 2200 block of Mathias Lane near Kyle. 

Authorities said the fire began around 3 P.M. and at least  one a shed and some cars were damaged by the fire. Residents have been evacuated and Starflight is providing water drops.

Hays CISD and Hays County Emergency Services have opened the Science Hall Elementary School Gym to any evacuated residents but the gym will not serve as an overnight shelter, only as a place for residents to gather.

Authorities are asking cars to avoid the area and take alternate routes. 

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