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Old 09-05-2011, 09:04 PM
 
675 posts, read 1,774,416 times
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Just wondering if anyone thinks these wildfires could ever make it all the way to Austin. The Bastrop fires seem to be barely contained, and several othes (Leander, Spicewood, etc.) seem to be either zero percent contained or not much better. But more disturbingly, just looking around from the views on Highway 360/ Capitol of Texas, it feels like we're in a 'burning ring of fire.' Tall pillars of smoke everywhere.

Does anyone think the wildfires could encroach upon Austin? Or would federal forces of some sort be deployed if the fires raged that far out of control.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Steiner Ranch is in Austin so I am going to go ahead and say yes.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:20 PM
 
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Let's try to stay positive!
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Austin
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I understand what you mean, Raskolnikov, and have wondered the same. According to Perry, we're getting closer to looking to other sources for help, as in Fort Hood, but some things can't be controlled.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:25 PM
 
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Yeah, Steiner ranch is in Austin, true. But I'm talking more about places like the greenbelt, South Austin, Circle C, the airport, East Austin, etc. Essentially, the major parts of Austin. Seems far-fetched but with no more resources, I don't know how they can contain the fires at all. Seems like they'll just potentially keep going forever with all this wind, until rain puts them out. No rain in the forecast at least for the next week...
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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It is possible, but there are a couple of reasons that it is less likely -
There is much more concrete in Austin proper, so even though the fire can spread great distances, it is not as likely to get as hot or have as much fuel. Also, the building code has required fire resistant shingles for a long time, so there are not as many easy flammable structures. There are a lot higher population density, as well, so fires like the one off of MoPac get spotted very quickly.

The green belt, however, could be a very risky place to leave adjacent to right now.....
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
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Well, they are close to East Austin as there are still fires in Pflugerville (or where), We can see the smoke here in Hutto and a friend of mine in Manor says that they are starting to see the smoke and such from the bastrop fire. There was a fire by the airport earlier today. It was close to the control tower.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:17 AM
 
Location: central Austin
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So much depends on the wind! If you get a spark, bbq grill tips over, cigarette, etc. or even a home kitchen fire, if it takes just a few extra minutes to report it and the wind catches the flames . . . everything is so dry . . . you could get a run of fire even in the city.

But it would be easier to control, more water available, more concrete but if the wind is strong enough . . . and there is plenty of dry fuel for a fire everywhere in Austin . . . it can be nearly impossible to control if it really started, regardless of location.

My neighborhood is warning people from even mowing the lawn for fear of sparks.

More than rain, we need the wind to drop.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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In this mornings paper:

Quote:
Conditions, growth feed wildfire risk

As part of a Ph.D. program, Baum studied Austin's wildfire threat and compiled his findings into a first-of-its kind study in 2003. It concluded that West Austin is at serious risk for the same wildfires that have torn through California in recent years. Homes sit atop ridges, plants are often dried out in the semi-arid conditions, and winds like those seen over the weekend carry sparks.
"Simply stated, the conditions in West Austin and Travis County as we find them today may be perfect for a natural wildfire disaster of significant (and prophetic) proportions," Baum stated in his 2003 study.
"It's like living on the coast," he said Monday. "It is beautiful, and everyone wants to live on the hill with the beautiful views, but you put yourself on the top of a matchstick."
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:58 AM
 
Location: SW Austin & Wimberley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raskolnikov View Post
...

Does anyone think the wildfires could encroach upon Austin? Or would federal forces of some sort be deployed if the fires raged that far out of control.
Theoretically yes, if new fires start separately and burn uncontrolled (because fire crews are already maxed elsewhere) and they later combine/join and move through urban tree canopies and preserved dry land (such as Balcones Canyonland), toward the SE, I suppose a fire could come across 360 from NW Hills/Spicewood area and quickly across Westlake Hills. Many of the older homes in Westlake Hills north of Bee Cave east of 360 are older 1970s/1980s homes that would burn up real quick.

It would have to jump Lake Austin though, unless something starts on the south side of the lake.

I have to admit, home working today, I've already thought of what I would grab from the house, though I've only thought about it thus far. I live in Westlake and there is a lot of dry tender NW of me in the hillier areas, and the winds are from the north.

Steve
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