Manchaca brush fire burns 75 acres of grassland

A brush fire in South Austin burned approximately 75 acres of grassland Saturday. 

“After 3 o’clock [Saturday] afternoon we were called out to the Estancia Parkway in Camino Vaquero in deep South Austin,” explained Austin Fire Department Division Chief Palmer Buck. 

Several fire departments and other first responders battled the blaze. 

Buck says first responders evacuated people living at transient camps that were in the fire's path. As the fire spread, he says there were concerns about an apartment complex on Old San Antonio Road and Onion Creek Parkway, as well as some nursing homes. Buck said the buildings were monitored, but as of Saturday evening, the threat appeared minimal.

Buck said officials would be on site Saturday evening and would have a “busy” Sunday. He said he expected to see smoldering through the day Sunday. 

The fire started when a company installing a fence behind an apartment complex were cutting metal posts with a grinder and caused a spark.

Buck says “hot work” like mowing lawns, or in this case, using a grinder, are common causes of brush fires. Especially, when conditions are as dry as they are now. Buck says if you must do hot work outside, be sure to have some sort of extinguisher on hand.