AUSTIN (KXAN) — As you walk some parts of the Violet Crown Trail in southwest Austin, it’s hard not to see the abandoned campfires and propane canisters along the way. That’s where Jamie Hammonds, who has created a small group called DASH, was Friday morning.

DASH documents homeless camps, largely for social media, and brings supplies to people in those camps. Right now, the team of two has spent much of its time bringing ice water to people and trying to educate homeless people about fire danger.

“They build these fires to eat, to do what they need to do, and in this type of environment with the heat it takes nothing for a campfire to go from a campfire to a wildfire in a matter of minutes,” Hammonds said.

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said during a Tuesday press conference on wildfire preparation that the city has been “paying specific attention” to homeless encampments with high fire danger and relocating people staying at encampments into shelters.

Earlier this week, a homeless encampment in the West Bouldin Creek area was formally declared closed after 72 people and 15 pets were relocated from the encampment to the Southbridge Shelter, according to the City of Austin.

Hammonds pokes his foot through an abandoned camp fire at the Violet Crown Trail
Hammonds pokes his foot through an abandoned campfire at the Violet Crown Trail (KXAN photo/Tim Holcomb)

While fire danger is a high concern surrounding homeless camps, the founder and CEO of WeCanNow says his bigger concern is extreme temperatures and people in camps being unable to get the resources they need to survive the heat. He said he hasn’t seen many fires at the camps he’s servicing.

“Most people that we come in contact with that are experiencing homelessness are just trying to stay cool and away from fires or hot temperatures,” Antony Jackson said.

Still, Hammonds says in the spots where smoldering campfires and empty propane tanks liter Austin trails, he’s worried it’s only a matter of time before a small spark causes a big problem in Austin’s greenbelts.

“They are a tinder box. It would take nothing to get a wildfire started,” Hammonds said.