Fire at Strawberry Hill extinguished quickly with Lake Travis Fire Rescue crews & upgraded water line  

The aftermath of the July 17 Strawberry Hill brushfire leaves scorched land and dead trees across from the main entrance of Steiner Ranch. Officials said the fire was started by teenagers setting off fireworks and it was exacerbated by an ongoing drought and record heat. Photo by MICHELLE SEGOVIA

The July 17 Strawberry Hill brushfire was started by fireworks, according to officials. LTFR photo

By MICHELLE SEGOVIA, WCID No. 17 Contributor

As residents of the Strawberry Hill neighborhood slept during the early morning hours of July 17, a large brushfire was quickly spreading just below the hill in which their homes stood.

Sherry Reynolds was jolted awake by her ringing phone. She immediately smelled the smoke coming from the fire that raged merely yards from her house. A neighbor was calling to warn her about the fire so she and her husband could get out in time.

Luckily, Lake Travis Fire Rescue was already at the scene. 

“We had a number of crews who were able to extinguish the fire pretty quickly and were able to save damage to any homes,” stated Rachel Neutzler, communications director of LTFR. 

The fire was across RM 620 from the main entrance of Steiner Ranch – which 12 years earlier lost 23 homes due to wildfire over the 2011 Labor Day weekend. 

On the Strawberry Hill fire, Neutzler credits the quick work of Lake Travis Fire Rescue crews as well as water lines that were upgraded by Water Control Improvement District No. 17 for saving homes from any major damage. 

General Manager of WCID No. 17 Jason Homan said the water line improvement project – which included the installation of more than 4,000 feet of 8-inch water lines – occurred in 2018.  

“We are proud to serve the 50,000 customers in our community and take that responsibility very seriously,” Homan stated. “Making improvements to the water system in the communities in which we serve is necessary so that we can help keep our residents safe.”

Reynolds is extremely grateful for the quick action of the fire department and also for the water that was available to fight the quickly-growing fire. 

“They did a really excellent job. They are my heroes for sure, in addition to the water district, definitely my heroes,” she said.

The fire which was started by teenagers setting off fireworks was exacerbated by an ongoing drought and record heat, according to officials. The conditions make the area ripe for wildfires that can quickly spread out of control.

WCID No. 17 and LTFR officials remind residents how rapidly a situation can turn dangerous. They urge residents to work together to keep the community and families safe. This means following area burn bans and being responsible citizens in regards to fire safety and also water conservation.

Lake Travis Fire Rescue said this brush fire was started by fireworks in Strawberry Hill on July 17. Photo posted on Four Points Traffic Alert Facebook page by Joshua Victor Seni.