Crews monitor fire at Bastrop State Park, contained since Monday night

 
17 July 2017

published by http://www.statesman.com


USA -  Tuesday: A fire that started from a lightning strike at Bastrop State Park Monday night is still burning, but crews are on the ground monitoring the blaze and waiting for it to extinguish, the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management said.

The brush fire was contained on Monday night at 6 acres, officials said. Firefighters formed a line around the blaze and then performed a "backburn," igniting an unburned section of land to reach the line of the fire so it could self-extinguish.

On Tuesday, firefighters remained on scene to continue mopping up hotspots and monitoring the fire, which continues to burn amid high temperatures, officials said.

There is no threat to the public, according to Bastrop County ESD 2.

The brush fire is located in the eastern portion of Bastrop State Park, in an area that is not open to the public, Texas Parks and Wildlife said. The park is open and carrying on with normal operations, the department said.

Anyone with questions can contact the state park headquarters at 512-321-2101.

9:45 p.m. update:

Bastrop County fire officials say what started as a 5-acre brush fire at Bastrop State Park could burn the next few days before it is completely extinguished, but there is no threat to residents in the area.

Shortly before 9 p.m., firefighters started a "backburn" to contain the now-20 acre blaze to a ravine in the state park near Harmon Drive and Second Street. Crews lit the brush, spreading flames to the line of the fire to help extinguish it.

"We are using fire to put out fire," Bastrop County ESD 2 Assistant Chief Andres Rosales said. "As the fires progress toward each other, they'll eventually put themselves out, and we'll be able to work better in that area."

Using fire to extinguish the blaze will protect the land at the state park, Rosales said, since sending brush trucks into the area can cause erosion and other problems. Officials said there is no threat to residents in the area, and crews would remain overnight to oversee the now-controlled burn.

"We are trained to do this," Rosales said. "This is what we do."

Officials say the initial 4-acre fire began around 7 p.m. Monday and was likely caused by a lightning strike. It had spread 20 acres as crews performed backburning late into Monday night.

The brush fire is in the burn scar of the 2011 Bastrop County Complex fire. Torched and fallen trees that have accumulated in sections of the park could burn like brush piles for as long as a week, Rosales said.

Multiple agencies have responded and are assisting, including Bastrop County ESD2, the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Bastrop Fire Department, Paige Fire and Bastrop State Park officials.

9:00 p.m. update: Firefighters have a containment line around the 5-acre brush fire near Bastrop State Park and are performing a “backburn” to help extinguish it, officials said.

Crews have set fire to a portion of unburned land at the end of Second Street off Harmon Drive to meet the line of the fire, which is burning in a deep ravine in the park. Andres Rosales, who is leading incident command, said this will stop the spread of the fire and extinguish it without having to put men on the ground in the fire.

Rosales said it is likely the fire started from a lightning strike around 7 p.m. Monday, but the cause has not been confirmed. Officials said no structures are in danger.

The Texas Forest Service, Bastrop County ESD 2, the Bastrop Fire Department, Paige Fire and Bastrop State Park officials are on scene battling the blaze, which is in a section of Bastrop State Park that burned in the Complex Fire in 2011.

Earlier: Firefighters are battling a 5-acre brush fire near Bastrop State Park and attempting to keep it from spreading to nearby structures on Second Street, Fire Chief Josh Gill said.

The fire is located near Second Street off Harmon Road on state park property, said Gill, who heads Bastrop County Emergency Service District No. 2. Crews are working to contain the blaze, and they expect to extinguish it tonight.

It’s somewhat common for fires to develop in this area due to dry brush, Gill said.

This is the second brush fire reported near Bastrop today.

A 1-acre brush fire in the Tahitian Village neighborhood was reported about 9 a.m. Firefighters had the fire 100 percent contained by 11:30 a.m.

No structures were impacted in the blaze and no injuries were reported.