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AFD Still Helping With Bastrop Fire

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Photo by Raymond Thompson for KUT News and ReportingTexas.com
A burnt out truck sits near the remains of a house in the Tahitian Village area that was destroyed in the Bastrop wildfire.

The Austin Fire Department has helped out with all the major Central Texas wildfires this week, and firefighters are still toiling to contain a massive 34,000 acre wildfire stretching across Bastrop County.

AFD currently has four of its 40 fire engines in Bastrop. All four are back up engines that would otherwise not be in service. Some off-duty AFD firefighters are working overtime in Bastrop.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can reimburse 75 percent of the costs associated with fighting the fire. 

“We are tracking our costs very closely,” AFD assistant fire chief Ken Crooks said.

Crooks said AFD’s assistance in Bastrop could “potentially” adversely affect response times in Austin, but he says he hasn’t seen any evidence of that. The fire department’s planning and research section will analyze response times over the past week and report back to AFD brass.

Almost 200 Austin firefighters were dispatched across the region last weekend as wildfires tore through homes in Pflugerville, Steiner Ranch and Spicewood, but Austin fire chief Rhoda Mae Kerr stayed in Colorado for a Labor Day golf trip, and didn’t return until Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman reported.