Half of Bastrop State Park burned



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Posted on September 5, 2011 at 7:19 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 5 at 3:21 PM

Bastrop Park fire

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BASTROP, Texas -- Some Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees have been evacuated from the command post at Bastrop State Park.

Fires across Central Texas propelled partly by the high winds caused by Tropical Storm Lee burned thousands of acres. The entire state is under a red flag warning due to the fire danger.

Nearly half of the Bastrop State Park has burned, as have hundreds of homes. Crews are still battling the flames. What started as two fires east of the city of Bastrop merged into one. The fire is moving south and is now well south of the Bastrop State Park and has reached FM 2571. That road connects Highway 304 and Smithville.

State parks officials are still planning to make an all-out effort to save historic structures in the park, many of which were constructed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Park officials are also concerned about threats to the endangered Houston toad. The 124,000-acre Lost Pines area of Bastrop County is home to the largest known population of the small, reclusive amphibians in the U.S.

So far, the Texas Forest Service estimates over 14,000 acres have burned in Bastrop, along with at least 300 homes. The fire is 16 miles long and six miles wide. 

As for what triggered the fire, that remains unknown. But a combination of dry air, gusty winds, and our historic drought have come together to produce dangerous fire conditions area-wide. 

A front Monday is threatening to make it worse by pushing through, producing wind gusts of at least 40 miles per hour.

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