Text by Paula Dittrick, TMN CPC blogmaster, as compiled from information released by Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Department of Emergency Management, and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Map from Texas Department of Emergency Management
A wildfire known as the Rolling Pines Fire was reported after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department started a prescribed burn in Bastrop State Park on Jan. 18. No one was injured, and no homes were damaged as of Jan. 21.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith said embers from the prescribed burn might have contributed to the wildfire, but he emphasized earlier this week that it was too early to declare an official cause.
Texas A&M Forest Service assisted firefighting crews. The wildfire at one point reached an estimated 813 acres. As of Jan. 21, officials said it was 70% contained.
Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape told reporters at a Jan. 18 news conference that prescribed burns in the park help prevent wildfires by preventing conditions that contributed to the Bastrop Complex Fire of 2011, a wildfire that destroyed about 1,600 homes, killed two people, and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
“I’m not going to be critical of the efforts to protect our citizens from wildfire by using prescribed fire,” Pape said, adding, “I think it’s a great tool to keep those kinds of things from happening.”