BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- Fire crews are making progress on a brush fire burning in Bastrop County. Firefighters managed to save one structureTuesday after a short flare-up.
The flames sparked in Smithville Monday afternoon and quickly spread across 252 acres. By Tuesday evening the fire was 70 percent contained. This area isn't far from the devastation left behind in the 2011 wildfires that torched parts of the county.
Investigators say they found a tree near the start of the fire that was struck by lightning over the weekend. They say it smoldered until it flared up Monday afternoon.
"Due to pine needles and oak litter on the ground, it's not unusual for that to dry out and a day or two later with some wind reignited. We're certain that's the cause of this fire," said Bastrop Emergency Management Coordinator, Mike Fisher.
Residents are relieved the fire is under control for the most part, thinking back to the wildfires in 2011.
"Those pines and cedars ignite real quick. There is a lot of this area that has pine needles two or three-foot thick. There is a lot of fuel for the fire," said Smithville resident Mike Faulk.
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“You're gonna see smoke today. There's no doubt about that,” said Jack Page of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. “It's a lot of hot spots.”
The fire burned down into a ravine near the Smithville landfill before spreading into trees which line the area.
“We're in such a drought right now, a fire will dry it out in a hurry, and the winds certainly don't help either,” said Smithville Mayor Mark Bunte.
On Monday firefighters evacuated several dozen nearby homes. Residents were allowed to return by late Monday evening, but they were without power until Tuesday afternoon. Power has been restored.
Firefighters are hopeful they’ll have the fire close to 100 percent contained between 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday.
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