UT MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Science Park-Research Division evacuated following Bastrop fires

Nashwa Bawab

Officials ordered a voluntary evacuation of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Science Park-Research Division after several brush fires were reported in Bastrop County earlier Tuesday.

The largest fires, which started in Smithville, were labeled as “high fire danger” by the Austin Fire Department, which also reminded residents to be wary of conditions in their area.

“Low humidity and breezy winds, along with no rain in the past several weeks, makes for a potentially catastrophic combination,” Austin Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

According to fire officials, the fire near UT’s MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Science Park grew more than 50 acres.

UT’s MD Anderson Cancer Center Science Park-Research Division is located in Smithville and so far has had no report of fires damaging structures, according to Ron Gilmore, media specialist at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“As far as we know, the fire has not affected any structures on our campus,” Gilmore said. “From what I understand, the fire did get to sort of the outlying area of campus.”

Gilmore said campus officials set up an off-campus command center where they are monitoring the current situation with local fire officials.