Texas Wildfire: 9 Homes Destroyed, Disaster Declaration Issued
A Central Texas wildfire that spread to as much as 3 square miles has destroyed at least nine homes.Advertisement
While the number of burned homes could increase, according to County Judge, Paul Pape, also the top executive of Bastrop County, there have been no reports of injuries. The fire in Bastrop County, 30 miles east of Austin, instigated Tuesday. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Buescher State Park were evacuated as a result. The hospital was saved after a fire retardant was dropped from an aircraft.
The fire had been 50 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. “There’s about $500 million worth of real estate combined in that facility,” Mike Fisher, Bastrop County Emergency Management director, said, as reported by KVUE. “So the fire moved into that campus and literally right up to the foundations of some of those buildings, but thanks to the hard work of the firefighters we pre-assigned to that location, none of those permanent facilities have been harmed.”
Wind, topography and vegetation in the area can be attributed to the fire spreading to northern and northwestern directions. As of Wednesday, smoke spread to Hays and Travis counties. The crews have been able to contain the fire because of mitigation work in the area, Pape said.
According to NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, a disaster declaration has been made in the area. Governor Greg Abbott will be visiting the area Thursday.
Bastrop County has not received enough rainfall. The humidity has been on the lower side as well. The temperature is expected to be in the 90s.
In 2011, as many as 1,700 homes were destroyed in a wildfire in Bastrop that spread to 33,000 acres.
“We’re so grateful for the weather conditions overnight and this morning, but we know that there are changes on the way,” said Pape, according to Time Warner Cable News. “We’ve asked our firefighters to be especially aware of that, and not get caught unaware of the situation, but always be mindful of changing conditions. We also ask the citizens of Bastrop County to respect the firefighters and those who are putting themselves in harm’s way to deal with this fire.”