1 Mar 2009, 1:12am
Latest Fire News
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Texas Fire Destroys Two Dozen Homes

Fire rips through Bastrop County, destroying homes and businesses

By Laura Heinauer & Asher Price, Austin American-Statesman, March 01, 2023 [here]

At least 23 homes and nine businesses were destroyed and more than 650 acres were scorched as a fire probably caused by a downed power line rolled through a semirural stretch of Bastrop County on Saturday,

The blaze, which officials named the Wilderness Ridge Fire, sent billows of smoke skyward all afternoon, and it forced dozens of residents to evacuate their homes in the early afternoon.

At one point, more than 200 homes were threatened. One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported Saturday night.

Portions of Texas 71 between Bastrop and Smithville were shut down as crews from at least four firefighting airplanes, three helicopters and a host of emergency vehicles toiled to keep the fast-moving fire, fed by gusty winds and parched conditions, at bay.

County Judge Ronnie McDonald declared Bastrop a disaster zone, opening the way for state or federal help. It’s the second time in less than two weeks that the judge has declared a disaster. McDonald recently wrote Gov. Rick Perry asking for help because of record dry conditions.

The area struck by the fire is home to Bastrop’s piney woods and some of its agriculture. It is also dotted with subdivisions. Sandra Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Texas Forest Service, which was assisting Bastrop County with the fire, said officials did not know the names of the destroyed businesses.

As night fell, officials said the fire was 40 percent contained and said they were hoping to make a stand along the Colorado River.

Officials were hoping that the fire, whipped by gusts up to 39 mph in midafternoon, would slow down as winds steadily decreased after sunset. … [more]



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