Vehicle likely started Wimberley brush fires

A probable cause has been determined for the fast-moving brush fire in Wimberley last week.

“After multiple interviews and an on-scene investigation, it has been determined that the probable cause of the Ledgerock Fire was due to a faulty emissions system of a vehicle that was observed traveling through the area prior to the discovered fires,” Hays County Fire Marshal Clint Browning said.

According to Browning, there were a minimum of 19 areas of ignition documented along a 4.9 mile stretch of RR 2325. Some of those areas spread out several hundred yards and may have covered other areas of ignition. There were several small burn areas and one larger burn area 2.1 miles from RR 2325 on Pump Station Rd. The smaller areas were in rocky soil and did not spread.

The complete burn area along the roadways where the fires originated was searched on foot and no evidence of an incendiary cause was located. The fire is believed to be accidental at this point in the investigation.

In total 350 acres were burned – 222 acres in the Ledgerock Fire, 117 acres in the Middle Fire, 8 acres in the Valley Springs Fire and an additional 3 acres from spot fires along RR 2325 and Pump Station Road. Roughly 100 homes were potentially threatened by the fast-moving grass fire.

Justin McInnis, assistant emergency management coordinator for the Hays County Office of Emergency Services, said, “Thanks to the quick action of the Wimberley Fire Department in arriving at the scene and requesting assistance from the Hays County Wildland Fire Task Force, which includes all fire departments in Hays County, the fi re was 100 percent contained during the night of January 30. The Task Force members worked diligently to combat the fires and remained on the scene to ensure that smoldering areas did not reignite.”

The departments that responded to the Wimberley fires include Kyle Fire, Buda Fire and EMS, North Hays Fire and Rescue, Chisolm Trail Fire, South Hays Fire, San Marcos Fire, Wimberley EMS, Wimberley Fire, Hays County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, Hays County Fire Marshal, Hays County CERT, Hays County Office Of Emergency Management, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, STAR Flight, Canyon Lake Fire, Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Forest Service.

McInnis noted that the Hays County Office of Emergency Management is stressing the need to be vigilant during these dry times in Central Texas. With below-normal rainfall this winter and the slow creep of drought conditions throughout Central Texas, he said it is imperative for Hays County residents to follow the Burn Ban, which is currently in place, as well as basic fire safety principals.

“Don’t throw your cigarettes out of the car window, maintain your vehicles, keep tow chains off the ground, and take proper precautions when towing,” McInnis said. “The safety of many of the homes during the grass fire can be attributed to residents following the basic Fire Wise principles: by properly maintaining property, keeping grass mowed and trees away from houses and structures to form a defensible zone, and storing flammables away from structures, the survivability of property is greatly enhanced.”

Hays County residents can find more information regarding the Burn Ban and can also stay informed about incidents within Hays County by going to

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666