WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — The hilly terrain in Hays County made getting water to the Hermosa Fire near Wimberley a challenge.

“In this area we’re very limited for water, so water has to be trucked on large water tenders so those cars have to come in throughout the night to get the water to the firefighters,” said Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Wobus.

The drought exacerbates the problem.

“It takes a lot more now that we’re in this drought. A five-gallon pail of water doesn’t go as far now as it did three months ago,” he said.

Within city limits in places like Austin or even smaller cities like Georgetown, the water supply primarily comes from fire hydrants.

“On occasions we will need to fill a truck up where there is no water supply, such as out in the county,” said Jonathan Gilliam, deputy fire marshal for the Georgetown Fire Department. “On these incidents, we will either draft the water needed from any available water source such as pools, lakes or streams or operate a water shuttle.”

Craig Moreau, chief of Fayette County Emergency Management, said firefighters there have a similar process but different problems.

Firefighters at grass fire
Crews battle a grass fire in Fayette County, Texas

“Our guys are able to rely on stock tanks and ponds and streams and rivers, but right now they’re dried up when we need them the most,” he said. “We do have a big lake, we have some fire hydrants, not enough to cover the whole county. But we’ll do what it takes to get water there. We partner with local businesses. We have a lot of drilling and oil well activity here and sometimes the oil wells will provide 18-wheelers to help us get the water.”

Drought is also a concern in Bastrop County, but Emergency Management Chief James Altgelt said dry conditions have not yet impacted the county’s water tables, and crews haven’t made any major changes yet to the way they fight fires.

Atlgelt said it’s on the department’s radar it could change, and it may soon become more difficult to find water sources.

“Our firefighters are very accustomed to knowing where hydrants are and coming up with a plan very quickly,” he said.

All the agencies we spoke with commended their crews for their work during this very busy summer for fire departments.