SPICEWOOD, Texas (KXAN) - The Pedernales fire that destroyed 60 structures and charred 6,500 acres nearly one year ago was started accidentally by electrical lines, the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office ruled Wednesday.
The ruling on the fire that started Labor Day weekend and burned for 11 days was expected. But the ruling appears to close the book on the 11-month investigation.
"The investigation shows that the lines came into contact with either each other or the low-voltage phone lines directly below," the fire marshal's office said in a statement. "The (investigation) team determined that the fire was accidental in nature."
The blaze was one of two fires fueled by dry conditions and high winds on Sept. 4, 2011. It originated about 1,000 feet from the 26249 Block of Haynie Flat Road and remained a threat until was extinguished on Sept 15.
According to the fire marshal's office, investigators analyzed burn patterns, interviewed witnesses and combed through site of the fire before reaching their conclusion.
"They found that the unusually high wind speed of 17 to 24 mph on the day of the fire likely contributed to the electrical lines coming into contact with each other," the office said.
"Their investigation shows that this contact caused arcing on the line and created hot molten material that fell to the ground. Investigators determined that this ignition source ignited the dry combustible grass below, considering the wind speed, temperature, relative humidity and long-term drought conditions in the region."
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which maintains the power lines in the area, said it had not received a copy of the report. Its own investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. KXAN News emailed PEC a copy of the report.
"PEC strives to maintain a safe and reliable system for its members," the co-op said in a statement. "And we encourage all members to report any conditions they consider unsafe and potentially hazardous."
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