Wildfires are ongoing and destructive in Texas. By September 20 of 2011, they had burned roughly 3,697,000 acres and about 2,700 homes (1,939 of which burned over the Labor Day weekend). Recently, the fires have been particularly severe due to the ongoing 2011 Southern U.S. drought covering the state, and exacerbating the problem is rapid desertification, the unusual convergence of strong winds, unseasonably warm temperatures, and low humidity.
The power and speed of wildfires became clearly evident in Leander starting on June 16, 2011 with a 60-acre brush fire, known as the Grand Mesa Fire, that evacuated 100 homes and threatened another 700. That fire was later determined to have been caused by heavy machinery at a residential construction site.
On August 15, 2011, a wildfire broke out in central Leander. 189 homes in the surrounding area were immediately evacuated. The fire burned 30 acres in total and raced through a mobile-home neighborhood, destroying 15 homes, multiple vehicles, and out buildings. Since it broke out on Horseshoe Drive, it is known as the Horseshoe Fire. This was the first of two destructive fires Leander experienced within three weeks, the second being the Moonglow Fire.
On September 5, a wildfire broke out in the Mason Creek North subdivision (on Moonglow Drive) in Leander. The fire rapidly grew in size and eventually destroyed 11 homes and damaged nine, burned 300 acres, and caused the evacuation of two more neighborhoods before being brought under control.