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Powder Keg Pine Fire in Bastrop is still burning, but mostly contained

A firefighter sprays a hot spot of brush
Patricia Lim
Firefighters said they expect the wildfire to burn for several days, especially with no rain expected.

A wildfire along State Highway 71 in Bastrop County was 75% contained as of Wednesday evening, the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management said.

The agency said the Powder Keg Pine Fire, which had grown to about 117 acres, was still burning, but that it's currently not spreading.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning from noon until 9 p.m. Wednesday for Bastrop County and much of Central Texas. Wind and low humidity could cause fires to spread quickly, the NWS said. People should not park cars in tall, dry grassy areas where weeds could catch on fire or throw cigarette butts on the ground.

The Powder Keg Pine Fire forced evacuations Tuesday afternoon, but evacuees were allowed to return home later in the day.

A helicopter drops water on the fire
Patricia Lim
A helicopter makes a water drop over the wildfire on Wednesday.

Emergency responders were spending Wednesday checking for spot fires, Walter Flocke, a spokesperson with Texas A&M Forest Service, said.

"[Crews are] going inside of the burned area and extinguishing any of those hot spots, because it's going to be another hot dry day today," he said, "and we're going to need to really make sure that those are extinguished."

Albert Navarro, who owns a nearby vape store, said he evacuated Tuesday as the fire grew. 

“Everything started getting ugly pretty quick," he said, adding that he’s been on edge because it reminds him of the 2011 Bastrop fire, which destroyed about 1,700 structures.

Flocke said the Powder Keg Pine Fire was in the same spot as the 2011 fire. 

“There are a lot of dead trees and a lot of heavy timber in there that's down on the ground,” he said. “And that's going to take a long time to mop up and extinguish.”

Flocke said the fire could continue to burn for multiple days, especially with no rain expected.

A separate wildfire on the Bastrop-Fayette County line — about 10 miles south of Smithville near State Highway 95 — has burned 37 acres, the Texas A&M Forest Service wildfire map shows. The fire is 80% contained as of Thursday morning.

A map shows the boundary of the fire, starting at SH 71 and going up to the boundaries of Bastrop State Park.
Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management
A map released by county officials shows the areas burned by the Powder Keg Pine Fire, stretching from SH 71 to the southern edge of Bastrop State Park.
A scorched field that's still smoking in the fire area.
Patricia Lim
About 100 acres were burned on the south side of Bastrop State Park alongside State Highway 71.

This story has been updated.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
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