AUSTIN (KXAN) - When Suzanne Pfeiffer saw the smoke cloud rising from the North Cat Mountain Greenbelt, she feared that the day she had been dreading finally arrived.
"It has been on my mind for several years with the drought," said Pfeiffer who lives in the neighborhood a few blocks away from her parents.
The smoke was rising in the area of her mother and father's home on Ladera Norte.
Luckily, their home wasn't the one on fire.
Unfortunately, it was right next door.
"There is a significant amount of damage at my parents' house."
The fire began on the back porch deck of the home that was destroyed and spread across a fence line to the home of Pfeiffer's parents.
Nobody was in either home at the time and the cause has been ruled accidental although it will likely never be known what sparked it.
One dog died in the fire while another is missing.
Austin Fire Department says the neighborhood that sits along the Greenbelt is one of the most at risk areas in the city.
"They are nestled into those trees that look nice most of the year," said Battalion Chief Palmer Buck. "Those homes are just fuel on those hillsides."
For years, AFD has tried to educate those homeowners on how to protect their homes in such a ripe environment for fire.
"We are talking to people about making sure those gutters are clear and to keep down vegetation" said Buck who recommends brush be given a 50-foot buffer from a home and that dead brush be cleared form the property.
Suzanne says it is something she has always practiced.
"I cut back any dry shrub at the beginning of the year and keep it as far away from the roof as possible."
Bulk Trash Pick Up
Every six months, homeowners have the option to throw out large brush through Austin Resource Recovery.
But there are some guidelines:
- Brush can be stacked 5 to 15 feet in length
- Stacks can be as high as four feet
- Brush stacks can be 5 to 15 feet deep into your yard
- To see a list of more guidelines, click here .
To see a map of when you can throw out large brush, click here .
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.