A wildfire in central Texas has quadrupled in size, growing to nearly 1,512 acres, KVUE in Austin reported Wednesday. Dubbed the Hidden Pines fire, it has forced the evacuation of roughly 20 homes so far. There are no reported injuries.
The blaze in Bastrop County, 30 miles east of Austin, began Tuesday and prompted the evacuation of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Buescher State Park. Fire retardant was dropped from an aircraft, which ultimately helped save the hospital. As of Wednesday afternoon, firefighters said the fire was 50 percent contained.
"There's about $500 million worth of real estate combined in that facility," said Mike Fisher, Bastrop County Emergency Management director, KVUE reported. "So the fire moved into that campus and literally right up to the foundations of some of those buildings, but thanks to the hard work of the firefighters we pre-assigned to that location, none of those permanent facilities have been harmed."
Ongoing: TPWD's Wildland Fire Team and area firefighters are containing yesterday's wildfires in Bastrop Co. http://t.co/l2KeNe7Uwx
— TPWDnews (@TPWDnews) October 14, 2015
The fire has been moving in northern and northwestern directions due to influences in wind, topography and heavy vegetation in the area, Time Warner Cable News reported. Smoke began spreading out to Hays and Travis counties Wednesday afternoon. At a briefing, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said mitigation work in the area has allowed crews to fight the fire better.
“We're so grateful for the weather conditions overnight and this morning, but we know that there are changes on the way," said Pape, Time Warner Cable News reported. "We've asked our firefighters to be especially aware of that, and not get caught unaware of the situation, but always be mindful of changing conditions. We also ask the citizens of Bastrop County to respect the firefighters and those who are putting themselves in harm's way to deal with this fire."
Bastrop County has been engulfed in flames in the past. In 2011, a wildfire in the country destroyed almost 1,700 homes and burned 33,000 acres, NBC-DFW reported.