San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 5th, 2011
Firefighters battle 400-acre blaze north of Dripping Springs

STAFF REPORT

A 400-acre fire first reported in Travis County at noon has spread to the area of Hays County north of Dripping Springs and about 500 people have been asked to evacuate.

As of 1 a.m. Monday, Hays County emergency responders are currently fighting a fire at Stagecoach Ranch Road and Hamilton Pool Road near the Hays County-Travis County line. Residents in the area were evacuated, including people in the Stagecoach Ranch subdivision and the area around Bell Springs Road, Lost Creek Road and Grand Summit Boulevard in Hays County.

Laureen Chernow, Hays County spokesperson, said evacuees should not return to the area until the government advises otherwise.

Officials set up an evacuation shelter at the Dripping Springs Middle School on Tiger Lane.

There have been no reports of injuries or residences burned in Hays County, according to the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Office officials say they do not know how much land the fire has consumed in Hays County.

First responders have dubbed the blaze “the Pedernales One Fire.”

Residents within a three-mile radius of the Stagecoach Ranch Subdivision were evacuated beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. By 10 p.m., authorities had announced an evacuation of the area including Bell Springs Road to Lost Creek Road and Grand Summit Boulevard, though the second evacuation was cancelled by 10:54 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office estimates 500 people were asked to evacuate the area. Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brandy Reuter said all available deputies were dispatched to help with the evacuations.

Residents seeking more information about the Pedernales One Fire may call a Sheriff’s Office representative at (512) 753-2180 or visit the Hays County website at www.co.hays.tx.us.

The Sheriff’s Office communicated with residents and conducted the evacuations with the help of the Emergency Notification System, or ENS, which is administered by the Homeland Security Office in Austin. Residents without a land line phone, or who use Voice Over Internet Phone systems like Vontage, cannot be contacted via ENS unless they register their cell phones and VOIP phones.

The ENS allows the Sheriff’s Office to select an affected geographical area on a map, create a message, and then send it to the phone numbers associated with the address points in the selected area. The message may include incident specific information, recommended protective action or other directives.

Residents can register their cell phone numbers through a web-based application and associate the number with multiple addresses. If residents register their cell phone number online, the ENS will call that number if their address is selected on the map.

If you wish to register your cell phone, follow these instructions:

1. Go to http://wireless.capcog.org.

2. Read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.

3. Enter your first and last name, wireless phone number you want to register, and your wireless carrier (Sprint, AT&T, etc.).

4. If your carrier is not listed or your cellular phone does not receive text messages, you should select “Other/No text” in the wireless carrier box.

5. Select “Request PIN.”

6. Check your cellular phone and enter the PIN number you received and select “Sign In.”

7. At the bottom of the map, enter the address you would like associated with your cellular phone in the address box (Example: 1303 Uhland Road, San Marcos, TX 78666)

8. Select “Add Marker at Address,” zoom in to the marker on the map, and ensure it is in the correct location. You can click on the marker with your mouse and move it on the map to a more accurate location for your address.

9. Select “Save.”

To add additional addresses, type them into the address box and repeat the above steps to place and save the marker on the map. After saving your addresses, your cellular phone has been successfully added to the ENS.

The ENS can only be activated by authorized personnel and be utilized by authorized users, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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