A fire burning since Tuesday, Oct. 13, outside of Austin, Texas, has destroyed nine homes and continues to prompt evacuations in the area, local officials report.
Known as the Hidden Pines fire, officials have the more than 40,000-acre blaze 15 percent contained.
The Bastrop County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday night that nine homes were destroyed. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations were ordered as early as Tuesday and continued through Thursday.
More than 150 people are still threatened by the fire as of 9 a.m. Thursday morning, the Texas Forest Service said.
By Thursday morning, crews were able to reopen several roads, allowing some residents to return to their homes.
Weather conditions proved hazardous on Tuesday, contributing to the fire's ignition.
"The weather pattern switched early in the week and humidity dropped," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said. "A dry pattern brought low humidity, and conditions were still hot with temperatures near 90 degrees Fahrenheit."
With no rain on the immediate horizon, dry air will enhance the arduous conditions for those working to contain the fire.
"The hot and dry weather will continue through Friday with highs in the 90s," Thompson said. "Highs over the weekend into early next week will be in the 80s, but the humidity will remain low through at least Monday."
The next chance for rain isn't until late next week.
Though the area received significant rain over the summer, parts of the county are experiencing extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The previous season's rainfall may have enhanced the fire potential, Thompson said.
"The heavy rain the area saw during the very wet period in June helped get things to grow. With the lack of rain since [then], the freshly grown brush dried out, making it more susceptible to burn," he said.
The dry air mass early in the week combined with the already arid land added to the fire's potential and eventual growth.