A wildfire whipped by gusty winds in a Central Texas state park has forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in the city of Bastrop, the site of a deadly blaze a decade ago
A wildfire in a Central Texas state park forced the evacuation of dozens of homes Tuesday in the city of Bastrop — the site of a deadly blaze more than a decade ago — and officials said a prescribed burn may be to blame.
The fire started in Bastrop State Park as wind gusts of up to 20 mph (32 km / t) spread the flames.
Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape — the county’s top elected official — said in a press conference Tuesday night that about 640 dekar (249 hektar) have burned. Om 150 dekar (61 hektar) were scheduled to be burned.
Om 250 families have been asked to evacuate as a precaution, Pape said. Reverse 911 calls were made to residents who should evacuate, Pape said, but he pleaded with people to contact their neighbors who may have missed the calls.
No injuries or deaths have been reported.
The fire is 10% contained, according to the Texas Forest Service.
Carter Smith, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife, said during a press conference that the prescribed fire began at 10:30 er. Shortly after noon, the team noticed “spotting” outside the perimeter of the planned burn, which they believe could have been from embers blown outside the boundaries of the planned fire.
Ifølge National Park Service a prescribed fire is a planned fire used for resource benefits or research. The conditions taken into account include the safety of the public and fire staff, weather and the likelihood that the desired outcome will be obtained.
As of Tuesday morning, sa Jason Smith, Bastrop County was under weather conditions considered OK for a prescribed burn.
“Our team felt that it was safe to proceed,” Smith said.
Pape agreed with Smith.
“Based on everything they knew this morning, it was an appropriate day to burn,” Pape said. “None of us can predict the weather more than 15 minutes ahead of time.”
The Bastrop Office of Emergency Management posted a wildfire notice just before 2 p.m. tirsdag.
Authorities closed the area over the park to flights, leaving it open for firefighting assistance. Several local roads were closed to traffic.
More wind and unseasonably warm temperatures — with a high of almost 80 degrees — were forecast for Wednesday, with a chance of rain and a cooldown expected Thursday.
De 2011 wildfire destroyed 1,600 homes in Bastrop, Om 30 miles southeast of Austin. The blaze scorched more than 50 kvadrat miles (1,630 kvadratkilometer), gjelder også 96% of the state park.
Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber contributed to this report. Coronado is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for Amerika Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America er et ideelt nasjonalt serviceprogram som plasserer journalister i lokale redaksjoner for å rapportere om undercovered issues.