‘It’s a little frightening’: Evacuations lifted after fire engulfs 400 acres in Horseshoe Bay, 75% contained

Hill Country

HORSESHOE BAY, Texas (KXAN) — A 400-acre fire prompted evacuations in Horseshoe Bay Thursday afternoon.

Horseshoe Bay posted on its website that there is a “major brush fire” in the Trails Subdivision and Blue Lake Subdivision, which are on the western edge of the bay.

Just before 2 p.m. Friday, the fire was 75% contained, according to Texas A&M Forest Service. Voluntary evacuations were lifted Thursday night, but one building was reported destroyed.

Although no one was hurt, many homes were threatened as the flames tore through the area.

One of those homes belonged to Scott Jones. He says he received a text alert around 3:30 p.m. about the massive fire approaching his neighborhood.

“It’s a little frightening as you’re riding up, and the smoke was just so large, and the flames were still visible, and you just start checking the wind real quick,” Jones said.

As the flames surrounded his neighborhood — worry set in.

“When it’s that close to your home, it creates creates a little bit of a tunnel vision, because your focus is so much on ‘is it going to cross, is it going to do these things,'” he said.

People were forced out of their homes for hours as crews worked to contain the fire in the two separate neighborhoods.

“There were no structures damaged in the Trails behind me, they were all threatened, but none were damaged, no structure fires, so that’s good news. In Blue Lake there was one structure fire, a loss of a house, and a couple of other houses that were affected, but not lost completely,” said Horseshoe Bay City Manager Stan Farmer.

Crews will remain in the area overnight, Farmer says, and right now they don’t know what caused the fire.

Although evacuations were lifted before the overnight, one group of local churches was preparing to take in potential evacuees.

First Baptist Church on La Ventana Drive was primed and ready to accept residents fleeing the fire, and the Highland Lakes Crisis Network even went a step further than that.

The network of churches says they set up Camp Peniel in Marble Falls to host evacuees. They say there’s plenty of room and cabins to stay socially distanced.

The camp is located miles away from the fire — a good 30 minutes, and the network says that could be the reason why they haven’t seen any evacuees.

“Here it’s a family community, and so there are neighbors are helping neighbors, and so they’re probably going to their own homes, to a friend’s house, but we’re just prepared for those that are in need,” said Norman Flowers with the Highland Lakes Crisis Network.

Flowers ensures volunteers will be stationed at the camp overnight, just in case someone arrives. The crisis network also had volunteers out at the staging area to help feed firefighters.

STAR Flight was also dispatched to help with the fire, and the Texas A&M Forest Service was called in at 4:30 p.m.

Matt Ford with the Texas A&M Forest Service says the 400 acres consists of mostly dark ash with some smoldering/hot spots. He says the main concern is the weather — it’s expected to shift in the morning, adding more winds and heat. This could flare the fire back up, but as of Thursday night, people were safe to return to their homes.

Live blog

9:10 p.m.

The Texas A&M Forest Service says the estimated 400-acre fire is 40% contained. The Forest Service also notes voluntary evacuations have been lifted, and residents can return to their homes.

8:45 p.m.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the fire is now an estimated 400 acres and is 30% contained.

8:05 p.m.

KXAN crews on scene say officials told them one home was destroyed in the fire, but others were still threatened.

7:35 p.m.

As of 7:30 p.m., the Texas A&M Forest Service website says the fire is estimated to be 330 acres. The map says it’s about 30% contained right now.

7:10 p.m.

The Marble Falls Fire Department says First Baptist Church on La Ventana Drive is open to evacuees.

6:55 p.m.

The fire, now called the “Trails Fire,” is estimated to be 300 acres, the Texas A&M Forest Service says. Right now, the fire is 10% contained, according to Forest Service, and multiple structures are threatened.

Evacuations are ongoing.

6:30 p.m.

The Llano County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to stay away from the Blue Lake area, to make way for emergency crews.

The Marble Falls Fire Department says it’s helping with the fire, which it estimates is around 300 acres. The department says there is a lot of smoke and falling ash, so they are asking people to be aware of their surroundings.

The video below was sent in by Lesley and Ian Clark.

  • trails fire horseshoe bay
  • Horseshoe Bay fire (Courtesy Cody Levay)
  • Horseshoe Bay fire (Courtesy Cody Levay)
  • Horseshoe Bay fire (Courtesy Cody Levay)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Cody Levay)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Cody Levay)
  • horseshoe bay brush fire
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Denise Hilsher)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Cody Levay)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Diane ONeill)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Denise Hilsher)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Diane ONeill)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Jonathan Allee)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Denise Hilsher)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay (Courtesy Diane ONeill)
  • Fire in Horseshoe Bay from the Caprock Clubhouse (Courtesy Erin Bailey)
  • Horseshoe Bay brush fire (Courtesy Reed Norman)
  • Horseshoe Bay fire (Courtesy Gail Chenoweth)

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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