A tossed cigarette that landed just short of a nearby burn barrel likely caused last weekend’s grass fire, which burned for two days and scorched 227 acres northwest of New Braunfels,
Comal County Fire Marshal Kory Klabunde said.
“It looked like it started from smoking materials ... it doesn’t take much to get a grass fire going,” Klabunde told county commissioners on Thursday.
Leading efforts to contain the blaze, which involved properties between Purgatory Road and Wegner Road, were Canyon Lake Fire and EMS crews that arrived around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Dozens of responders from nearby agencies worked through Saturday to contain the fire, which was totally extinguished around 2 p.m. Monday.
“A lot of credit goes to Canyon Lake Fire and EMS and Chief Darren Brinkkoeter,” said Jeff Kelley, Comal County emergency management coordinator. “It was an aggressive fire that required an aggressive response, involving nine brush trucks and dozers.”
Kelley said three Texas A&M Forest Service airplanes combined to drop six loads of fire retardant, aided by a helicopter that staged several trips to retrieve water from Canyon Lake and drop on the hot spots unable to be reached by ground units.
Brinkkoeter said the fire spread north to the Hays County line and east toward homes off in the Royal Forest subdivision before it finally contained at 7:24 p.m. The effort involved 19 fire units and more than 40 firefighters from the New Braunfels, South Hays County and San Marcos fire departments, Wimberley Volunteer Fire Department and Bulverde-Spring Branch Fire and EMS.
County fire investigators were on the scene Monday into Tuesday, when they came up with the likely source. Klabunde said because the tossed cigarette wasn’t malicious or intentional, it didn’t violate the county’s burn ban, in place since July, that can fine scofflaws up to $500.
There was no damage to homes or structures, only burned trees and grasslands in the area shared by four or five property owners, Klabunde said.