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From The Newsroom: North Texas Fire Crews To Assist In Central Texas Blaze

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT
Smoke from the fire burning in Smithville, located in Bastrop County.

The top local stories this morning from the KERA Newsroom:  Crews from the Fort Worth, Arlington, and Southlake fire departments are assisting the effort to fight a three square-mile wildfire in Central Texas.

The fire near Smithfield in Bastrop County was about 15 percent contained as of 6:30 this morning. So far, it’s destroyed nine homes and threatened more than 150 others. However, there have been no reports of injuries.

The fires have prompted a disaster declaration for Bastrop County, as well as evacuations of several neighborhoods.

KUT, the public radio station in Austin,reports:

A wildfire that started Tuesday in Bastrop County continues to spread, thanks in part to high, shifting winds on Wednesday, officials say. 

As of Thursday morning, the Texas A&M Forest Service was reporting that the fire had burned through 4,200 acres of land and now poses a threat to 154 homes. That's in addition to the nine homes that were lost Wednesday. Fire is reported to be 15 percent contained.

Bastrop County's Emergency Coordinator Mike Fisher says he expects what's known as the Hidden Pines fire to continue burning throughout the day Thursday, as conditions are predicted to be favorable to the spread of fire. Fisher says it's possible emergency crews will continue to fight this fire for the next several days.

Early Thursday morning, the National Weather Service in San Antonio tweeted that the smoke plume from the fire was visible from more than 22,000 miles away.

Here's more from KUT.

Other stories this morning from the KERA Newsroom

  • Southbound I-35E near LBJ will be closed for at least two more hours, after a tractor-trailer jackknifed near the LBJ Freeway interchange earlier this morning.


  • A new novel called “Bats of the Republic” explores Texas in an alternate universe. Jerome Weeks says it’s probably one of the stranger stories to come out of the Lone Star state.


  • A new short film, “One Hitta Quitta,” explores the genre of violent online videos. Our Big Screen team talked to Ya’ke Smith about the short, which was shot entirely on iPhones.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:20 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.