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Texas

Bastrop Wildfire Still “30 Percent Contained”

fire_break.jpg
Photo by Texas Military Forces http://www.flickr.com/photos/texasmilitaryforces/
Spc. Don Comstock with the Texas Army National Guard leads a bulldozer through a fire break yesterday in Bastrop County.

Fire officials appear hesitant to announce they have an upper hand in combating a wildfire in Bastrop County that has grown to 35,000 acres. But other indications suggest some progress is being made.

In a press briefing this morning at the Bastrop Convention Center, county emergency management coordinator Mike Fisher said the fire was still 30 percent contained. That was the same percentage provided Wednesday morning.

“We don’t want to claim that we contained something that we have not,” he said. “We may in fact be in better shape than that in terms of percent.”

Fisher said they are less concerned with the percentage as measure of containment than as an assurance that they can control the blaze.

“If we fail to update [that number] from period to period, that’s only because we’re not totally sure,” he said.

Bastrop officials also announced they will provide a re-entry plan at noon today, something that might not be possible without new information gleaned from an infrared camera attached to a plane that flew over the area at night. Crews coming off the line have also provided fresh information.

Other details from this morning’s briefing:

  • The Bastrop Complex fire has charred 35,000 acres. The burn zone is about 18 miles long and 6 miles wide.1
  • 1,386 homes have been destroyed.
  • About 5,000 people are evacuated. Close to 400 are in shelters.
  • Bluebonnet Electric released this map showing when it hopes to restore power to the area. The map will be updated as new information becomes available. The utility plans to add a restoration timeline for Tahitian Village sometime tomorrow.
  • The Texas Forest Service says it is not looking for volunteer pilots to fly a DC-10 plane stationed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. A spokesman said the plane cannot fly until Friday, because a retardant dispersal system is still being installed.
  • The Union Chapel fire in Cedar Creek is now under control, and re-entry is occurring today.
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