Report: Power Lines to Blame for Steiner Ranch Fire (Update)

Nov 20, 2012

Update: KUT News has received a copy of the full Steiner Ranch report from the Travis County Fire Marshall's Office. You can read the report here

Original post (10:34 a.m.): The 2011 fire in Steiner Ranch was probably due to electrical lines, according to the Travis County Fire Marshal.

Fire Marshal Hershel Lee issued a statement on his office’s investigation into the Steiner Ranch fire, which destroyed nearly two dozen homes and damaged several more. “[The] fire was most likely started by electrical lines that came into contact with one another, arced and ignited grass,” reads the statement. The conclusion was made based on burn patterns, witness reports and more. The lines were owned by Austin Energy.

The findings echo earlier reports that the Spicewood fire, which destroyed dozens of homes, was also ignited by power lines slapping together due to high winds.

“The exceptional drought, low humidity and high winds and temperature combined to create conditions that were ripe for fire ignition,” Lee says.

A full report is due from the Fire Marshal's office in the next few days.