Austin

wildfire
12:44 am
Mon September 5, 2011

Evacuation Information for Bastrop, Steiner Ranch Fires

Bastrop Middle School became shelter from the firestorm for people living in the way of a massive wildfire that burned at least 14,000 acres of brush, wildlands and rural subdivisions. As of late Sunday night, there was no containment of the fire at all.
Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News

Several shelters have opened up throughout Central Texas for people forced to evacuate their homes becuase of the wildfires in Bastrop County and near Steiner Ranch, west of Austin.

The fire is burning between Smithville and the City of Bastrop,  in and around Tahitian Village, The Colony, Colavista, Pine Forest and Circle D subdivisions, K-C Estates, La Riata, Pine Valley Estates and Pine Loop subdivisions.

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Breaking
6:30 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

Bastrop Fire Forces Hundreds to Evacuate

Smoke can be seen for miles as fire sweeps through Bastrop County. Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

12:00 a.m. UPDATE: More from KUT's Matt Largey at Bastrop Middle School:

"The folks sitting here, looking around, they look like they're kind of in shock. Obviously this is a difficult situation for them. They look exactly as you'd expect somebody to look like, who's just had to flee their home because of a wildfire."

Bastrop Middle School is one of several shelters set up for Bastrop County residents who've been forced to evacuate.

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wildfire
4:02 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

Brush Fire Forces Pflugerville Evacuation

Amy and Manny Pena and their dog, Mija, evacuated to Hendrickson High School after a wildfire threatened their home. The evacuation order has since been lifted. Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

6:00 p.m. update: KUT's Matt Largey reports the  brush fire at Hodde Lane and Cele Road in Pflugerville has been about 40% contained. The evacuation order has been lifted for the 180 or so households that had been evacuated to Hendrickson High School. The fire is no longer threatening subdivisions. Rural farmhouses or structures that may still be at risk will be evacuated individually on case-by-case basis as needed.

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Austin
2:12 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

Afternoon Brush Fire Destroys Two Cedar Park Homes

Updated: City officials tell KUT News all related grass fires have now been contained, though fire officials continue to monitor hotspots. Six area fire agencies responded to the fire earlier today to assist Cedar Park.  

From the City of Cedar Park:

 

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Austin
12:42 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

Brush Fire In Pflugerville Closes Road

Part of Dessau Road in Pflugerville is closed Sunday afternoon because of a grass fire.

Updated:  The first fire reported in the Pflugerville area today has been contained. Firefighters from Pflugerville and Travis County are now battling a second brush fire this afternoon. This one is around Hodde Lane near the Reserve at West Creek Subdivision.  From Pflugerville Police:

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Austin
9:13 am
Sun September 4, 2011

Top Morning Stories Sunday, September 4, 2011

Stage 2 Water Restrictions Go Into Effect Tuesday in the City of Austin. Image courtesy City of Austin.

Fire Danger Levels High in Central Texas Today

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Austin
12:11 am
Sun September 4, 2011

Texas Longhorns Beat Rice 34-9 in Football Season Opener

Longhorn Mike Davis on the run as the Texas Longhorns defeated Rice Saturday night 34-9. Photo courtesy of University of Texas at Austin athletics.

Texas Longhorn football fans breathed a sigh of relief- a least for this week- as the 'Horns beat the Rice Owls 34-9 in the seasoner opener. Those who follow the Longhorns weren't sure what to expect tonight, with a revamped coaching staff, depth chart, and attitude, coming off last year's disappointing 5-7 season.

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Austin
4:32 pm
Sat September 3, 2011

Hot, Windy, and Dry Through the Labor Day Weekend

Temps may be falling, but the rain still is not. Photo by KUT News.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for just about all of Central Texas from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Sunday. A Fire Weather Watch is in effect for our area on Monday from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

The weekend has been pleasant. It's been breezy and not as hot. So what do these warnings and watches mean?

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News Brief
5:39 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Top Morning Stories September 2, 2011

Cactus Pryor speaks at the LBJ Library and Museum in 1993. The longtime Austin broadcaster died Tuesday at the age of 88.
Photo courtesy Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

Remembering Cactus Pryor

A memorial service for Austin broadcaster Richard "Cactus" Pryor will be held this afternoon. He died Tuesday from complications from a fall and broken leg. He was 88 years old. Cactus spent 65 years on Austin's airwaves, both TV and radio.

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News Brief
6:57 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Top Morning Stories September 1, 2011

A new study out of UT Austin ranks the university second in the nation for efficiency.
Photo by KUT News

UT Study Ranks it 2nd in Efficiency

A new study says UT Austin is tied with the University of Illinois for second in the nation when it comes to the most efficient public universities. The study was done by an associate dean in UT's College of Liberal Arts.

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Austin
3:47 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

City Warns About Fires In Large Compost Heaps

This compost heap is probably not large enough to spontaneously combust, but should still be properly maintained.
Photo by cool.as.a.cucumber http://www.flickr.com/photos/smreilly/

Spontaneous combustion is real, at least when it comes to compost heaps.

Large commercial compost heaps of over 12 feet tall can become dangerous if not properly maintained, says Lauren Hammond, spokesperson for Austin's solid waste services department.

She says, the conditions have to be "just right" for a pile to self-ignite.

The record triple digit heat we've been experiencing can raise the temperature of a compost pile above 160 degrees. Mix that with the various gasses that are released from decomposition and the abundance of dry organic material, and you could have a real fire hazard on your hands.

Though most residential compost piles are no where near 12 feet tall, Hammond says, they still need to be maintained and monitored weekly.

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News Brief
5:38 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 31, 2011

Williamson County commissioners approved a budget for fiscal year 2012 Tuesday.
Image courtesy of Wilco.org

Williamson County Approves Budget, Holds Taxes Steady

Williamson County Commissioners approved the county's 2011-2012 budget yesterday. The nearly $127 million budget keeps property taxes about the same for the average homeowner even though home values are up. That's because commissioners lowered the tax rate a bit. 

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Austin
12:52 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

How Much Would You Pay Under Austin Energy’s New Rate Plan?

Photo by zebble http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebble/

Austin Energy is proposing its first base rate increase in 17 years. The public utility says it is operating at a loss, and needs to increase electricity rates by an average of 13 percent. 

City council is being presented with four options. Under the option recommended by and Austin Energy report out today, here’s how residential rates would change.

  • A 300 kWh monthly average bill would increase from $26.84 to $42.96
  • A 1,000 kWh monthly average bill would increase from $92.33 to $102.21
  • A 2,500 kWh monthly average bill would increase from $247.10 to $289.53
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News Brief
6:38 am
Tue August 30, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 30, 2011

The Associated Press is reporting polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs is hospitalized in a medically induced coma.
Photo courtesy of the Reagan County Sheriff's Dept.

AP: Warren Jeffs in a Coma

The Associated Press reports convicted polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs is in a coma following complications from fasting. A source told the AP the coma was medically induced.

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Austin
3:24 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Humane Society Loses Air Conditioning

A dip in relatively cool Lady Bird Lake might have been a dream for the dogs & cats at the Austin Humane Society's adoption center. The facility's air conditioning went out Sunday, prompting the society to offer free adoption through Monday evening.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News

If you think you're hot, try going through the heat wearing fur.

The air conditioning system at the Austin Humane Society was damaged when a transformer located near the shelter blew Sunday, as the temperature soared to an all-time record-tying 112 degrees.  On Sunday, the 112 degree temperature tied the record for the hottest ever day in Austin. 

In response to blown A/C, the Humane Society is offering free adoption for the animals currently housed at their adoption center, 124 W. Anderson Lane. The offer lasts through Monday evening at 7:00.

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