Fires rage across Austin, West Texas

Trent Lesikar

A brushfire that destroyed 10 homes broke out in South Austin on Sunday.

Palmer Buck, Austin Fire Department battalion chief, said the fire began at approximately 1:32 p.m. About 50 percent of the fire was contained by 10:30 p.m., according to the city of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

One suspect who fire officials believe started the blaze is currently in custody with a $50,000 bond. Officials have not released the suspect’s name.

The fire damaged eight homes in the Oak Hill area, near U.S. Highway 290 and State Highway 71, and 10 more have received fire damage.

Four fire departments — Austin, Westlake, Lake Travis and Oak Hill — helped contain the fire. Two STAR Flight helicopters dumped buckets of water on the blaze, and two C-130 airplanes dropped fire retardant.

“It’s just a horrible example of how dry and dangerous it is right now,” Buck said of the drought experienced all across the state.

Wildfires continue to spread in West Texas, and more than 195 counties, including Travis County, have an outdoor burn ban currently in place.

Residents in the area evacuated their homes, and many could not return by Sunday night.