Bastrop evacuees begin to learn the extent of the fire's damage



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Posted on September 8, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 8 at 11:12 AM

BASTROP, Texas -- Fire officials have confirmed new numbers from the Bastrop complex wildfire as it remains 30 percent contained.

As of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, firefighters confirmed 1,386 homes are destroyed. The fire caused major damage to four more homes; another four suffered minor damage, and three are affected, meaning there is smoke damage or scorching.

Frustrations are growing for the thousands who evacuated.

“We only got what we have got on our backs. If our house is gone, everything we have is gone,” said Bastrop evacuee, Otis Jackson.

On Wednesday, firefighters released a partial list of the affected homes. Frustrations mounted as groups gathered at the Bastrop Community Center to view the list. It included about 200 confirmed addresses.

“It's devastating. It was a total loss. We are still in shock; kind of trying to deal with it and trying to move on,” said fire victim Christie Leisure.

Leisure found her address on the list of destroyed homes.

“(We) had an outpouring of love of friends, family, church-goers trying to help, trying to rebuild, trying to find any way at all they can help us.”

The wait continues for others in the community who remain in the dark about how their home is faring.

“The most frustrating thing right now is just not knowing 100 percent whether the house is safe or not, but I am thinking positive and I am not going to say it is gone until it's gone,” said Bastrop evacuee Joe Carter.

The fire has burned through 34,349 acres according to fire officials.

About 400 firefighters from across the nation are working to contain the blaze. Despite their efforts, some homes cannot be saved.

“We actually came in and removed all the fuels and as the winds changed it brought the fire back over the top of them,” said firefighter Todd Jamison. “Now as we come back, it is burned down after we tried to work in here for a while.”

Firefighters hope to make more progress containing the fire on Thursday. They say it is crucial because weather conditions do not look to be in their favor on Friday.