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'It's ridiculous' | Frustration sets in for evacuated Bastrop residents at Terry's Corner

Worry turned to anger for residents who had been forced from their homes and away from loved ones for hours, with some saying the wildfire could have been prevented.

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas — As the Rolling Pines wildfire burned through Bastrop on Wednesday, the frustration of residents burned at Terry's Corner.

"This is definitely a burn area, but it's more of a burn area when people do foolish things," said Bastrop resident Danny Wheeler.

The frustration outside the convenience store, at the Valero gas station off Highway 21, was matched by worry inside.

"Doing alright?" Ali Momyn, who was working the cash register, asked to a customer.

"Yeah, yeah. I had to leave town last night and stay in a hotel. That cost me $126. Isn't that crazy?" the customer said.

"I was worried about my house burning down," another customer told Momyn.

Those same worries were echoed outside by Gloria Adams, a Bastrop resident of 35 years.

"We spent the night not knowing if we had a home left. So I spent the night thinking of all the things we were going to lose again," she said.

After a few hours of waiting for local and state law enforcement to reopen the main road, those worries turned into anger.

"This has been handled so poorly," Adams said. "Election time is coming up, we're going to remember this."

"We have a lot of fires out here and every time it's stupidity," said Curtis Lamson, who added that he saw the fire headed straight for his house. "The smoke was so bad, it got all in my house, it was hard to breathe. My eyes were burning. They're still burning today."

For Wheeler, it was a loved one having to pay the price.

"My mom is handicapped, she's bed ridden," he said. "We explained the situation to [law enforcement]. They said, 'We don't care, no one goes through.'"

He said the fact it could have been prevented is what frustrated him the most.

"Burning on a day where there's a ban and there's winds, and guess what? They lost control. Shouldn't have been doing it in the first place," he said.

The fire gave Sid Davila and his wife mixed emotions and flashbacks. They lived through the massive Bastrop complex fire in 2011. Their home was spared both times, so they're thankful.

However, Davila said he's frustrated that he didn't know what was going on. His homes is just a mile north of the fire's edge off Highway 21 and he said more could have been done to inform residents. 

"They need to communicate that better to the public because I did not know there was a prescribed burn. I understand the significance of it and the reason why they do it because you're trying to get all the dead brush cleared away, but they probably need to look and reevaluate the scenario and how they can get better communication to the public," Davila said. 


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