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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 4, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PEL h M i HI I I I PI i HERALDZEITUNG Vol 149 No 34 16 pgs in 2 sections January 4 2000 TUESDAY Serving Gomal County since 1852 50 cents hot one AMANDA A pair of unidentified county residents attempt to beat back a brush fire that raged Monday afternoon Monday just as the National Weather Service released a warning cautioning residents and local offi near the Oak Valley Estates subdivision in northeast Comal County About 700 acres went up in flames cials that dry conditions and an incoming cold front packing strong winds increased fire risk to the area Just as many county residents went back to work after the holiday weekend a 700acre fire erupted BY ERIN MAGRUDER Staff Writer A grass fire that scorched about 700 acres Monday afternoon and endangered a Canyon Lake area subdivision might have been started by an unauthorized burn authorities said The fire began about near Oak Val ley Estates located off Oak Valley Drive and EM 306 near Purgatory Road in northeast Comal County Nine families were forced to evacuate their homes as nearly 30 mph winds quickly spread the flames across the dry terrain No property damage was reported as a result of the fire officials said I was sitting in my living room when I saw the Oak Valley Estates resident Robert Carr said I got a couple of garden hoses and started fighting the fire It got two feet away from my home before they came and told me to A total of nine fire departments from sur rounding areas including Bracken San Marcos Wimberley New Braunfels Bulverde Garden Ridge Canyon Lake and Spring Branch fought to control the blaze Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said The Comal County Road Department also responded with three water trucks and Depart ment of Public Safety highway patrolmen stood on rooftops with garden hoses to keep the flames from engulfing the residences he said Firefighters controlled the blaze at its perime ters by about and residents were allowed to drive back to their homes The spread of the fire was stopped before it could reach nearby TXI Hunter Cement which at one point was predicted to be threatened by the blaze Manford said residents were fortunate that none of their homes were destroyed by the fire Were real lucky with this wind and humid ity and as dry as it only get 700 he said A report released from the National Weather Service earlier Monday cautioned that strong winds across South Central Texas would result in a red flag warning for increased fire danger As a cold front moved across the region early this morning winds were expected to gust at up to 40 mph Manford said a lack of vegetation in the heav ily grazed ranch land surrounding the subdivi sion slowed the spread of the fire The cause of the fire was still under investi gation but one firefighter reported that two piles of burning brush might have ignited the blaze Manford said Because of drought conditions and the extreme fire danger in the Hill Country Comal County has been under an outdoor burn ban since Aug 9 If the fire was started by an unauthorized burn the individual responsible could face up to a fine The majority of fires we have had were caused by unauthorized Manford said People think they can have a controlled burn and then it gets out of The fire reportedly burned an area as great in length as the devastating March wildfire near Fischer which was ignited by someone burning brush The Fischer five smoldered and rekindled again before it destroyed more than acres No one was injured in the blaze To prevent the Canyon Lake area fire from flaring up again firefighters with the help of a DPS helicopter were expected to continue work ing throughout Monday night to watch numer ous hot spots that could ignite dry brush and rekindle the blaze Manford said During Mondays fire curious residents and others passing through the area gathered at var ious sights near the blaze to get a look at the flames As helicopters soared overhead and county and state law enforcement officers worked to keep people at a safe distance air borne officials kept in contact with Ihose on the ground to try to stay one step ahead of the fire The flames driven by swirling winds in the afternoon hours moved across ridges and into valleys as firefighters scrambled to contain the conflagration Authorities maintained a vigil in the area overnight in case of a rellash AMANDA Scenes like this broke out across northeast Comal County on Monday as flames consumed ranchland and skirted local roads Y2K still OK for Comal FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS It was business as usual Monday Local entities are reporting smooth sail ing despite concerns about potential pow er outages and computer dysfunction Some computers might have read 2000 as some officials feared At city hall city manager Mike Shands said even equipment that wasnt supposed to be Y2K compliant was working We were advised that one of our com puters thats 5 years old wasnt Y2K com pliant he said We figured wed use it as long as we could and then replace it But we booted it up Monday and it Y2K roundup report Page 4A The city experienced no Y2K glitches he said Absolutely zero problems with he said Even the traffic lights are work ing and they arent even Y1K Comal County also reported no Y2K glitches county Y2K coordinator Dwyer Stringer said Ive run around to all the offices and havent found anything at all that shows INSIDE Key Code 76 Food bank will take Y2K surplus off your hands FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Local residents who prepared for the Y2K worst by stockpiling supplies of Spam bread and cereal have the chance to turn a would be disaster into a blessing The SOS Food Bank Inc of Comal Coun ty which helps feed local families is eager to take that extra food off your hands Of course as long as its good food well be glad to take said Ray Long a volunteer at the local food bank Food pantries across the country are hop ing to see some of the excess nonperish able food stockpiled for Y2K come their way in the next few weeks and months Second Harvest the largest domes tic hunger relief organization on Monday announced Y Go 2 a national food drive to encourage people to donate their surplus canned and packaged foods Officials said they did not know how much See
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