By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The Travis County Fire Marshal is investigating a recent fire in the canyon between Halsell Drive and Medina River Way in Steiner Ranch.
Around 11 p.m. on August 14, smoke rising in the greenbelt was spotted by Nichelle and John Bielinski, residents on Medina River Way who lost their home in the 2011 Labor Day Weekend fires.
The Bielinskis took immediate action and called the fire department and raised the alarm with all the residents on their street.
Firefighters were initially unable to locate the fire and had to spot the fire from the decks of residents on Medina River and then had to navigate to the location across the canyon.
Residents on Halsell Drive were unable to see the fire but the smell of smoke was readily apparent.
Fortunately, the humid conditions were not conducive to rapid spread and the fire was quickly contained and put out, said Nathasha Collmann, Steiner Firewise Committee official.
The fire began at an illegal campfire in what appeared to be a fort built by local teens. The area was littered with soda and beer cans with no signs of food or cooking debris, leading officials to believe that this was indeed a juvenile hang out and not a homeless person’s campsite.
The Fire Marshal is asking for anyone with information on the incident or any suspicious persons frequently entering or exiting the area to contact the investigator, Deputy Fire Marshal, Daniel Berger at (512) 694-5473 or Daniel.Berger@co.travis.tx.us.
Medina River residents are justifiably angry and jumpy at any sign of fire after losing about a dozen homes on that street two years ago nearly to the day, Collmann said.
At the peak of the summer heat and continued drought, the threat of another wildfire is a very real possibility.
The Steiner Ranch Firewise Committee would like to remind residents that the burn ban continues and urge residents to discuss fire safety with their children.
For more information on ways to protect your home, they can be contacted at SRFirewise@gmail.com.