A truck caught fire in Medina County, on Friday, March 25, starting a wildfire that has impacted 40 homes and continues to burn. Das Goat Fire, as the wildfire is being called, has now set ablaze more than 1,000 acres of land.
The Accident and Wildfire Evacuations
While the Medina County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a truck fire sparked the Das Goat Fire, the cause of the initial blaze is unclear at this time.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott spoke at a press conference in Medina County on Sunday, March 27, declaring the Das Goat Fire a wildfire disaster. According to Abbott, 37 homes have been threatened by the fire and another three homes have burned down.
Abbott said that more than 200 firefighters working with 19 state agencies to contain the fire. That work included flying helicopters to dump water on the blaze.
“As we continue to address fire activity, I encourage Texans to remain weather-aware and continue to heed the guidance from local officials to keep their loved ones safe,” Abbott said at the conference.
As of Monday morning, the fire has grown to more than 1,000 acres. Officials are currently working to restore electricity to the homes that survived the fire.
Voluntary evacuations were declared and later called off for the subdivisions of Ranchland Oaks, Summit Ridge, Laurel Canyon, Bear Springs Ranch, and Medina Oaks. Mico in Medina County was the first town to receive an evacuation order.
An evacuation shelter was first established at Loma Alta Middle School but has since been moved to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Helotes. Those who have been displaced by the fire can go to the church for food and water, as well as shelter.
To improve the state’s emergency response, damage from the fire can be reported to the state via the TDEM Self Reporting Damage Survey. Keep in mind that this does not serve as a substitute for reporting to your insurance company.
Texas A&M Forest Service reported that the 1,092 acres fire was 50% contained as of March 27.
How Do Car Fires Start?
Officials in Texas have been warning citizens about the potential risks of wildfires cropping up in the state for the past few weeks, and how those fires can be started by a wide range of factors. Nearly all wildfires are caused by human actions and carelessness, with the most common causes being burning trash and unsafe campfires. However, another common cause of wildfires is auto accidents and malfunctions.
Of course, cars don’t just spontaneously combust. There are a number of issues that can cause a car to catch fire, whether or not an accident has occurred.
- Leaking flammable liquids
- Overheating engines
- Electrical failures
- Flaws in the design
- Poor vehicle maintenance
Electrical problems are arguably the biggest culprit behind auto fires because they often cause the spark that starts leaking fuels on fire. In fact, the United States Fire Administration reports that nearly a third of all vehicle fires start because of issues with the electrical insulation.