On Tuesday, Jan 18, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) initiated a prescribed fire at Bastrop State Park that spread beyond the intended fire boundaries. The cause of that spread is unknown at this time. TPWD is working with the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management, Texas A&M Forest Service (TAMFS), the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and other partners to contain the fire, provide resources and support, and protect the health and safety of its neighbors.
In addition to local resources responding to the Rolling Pines Fire near State Highway 21 in Bastrop, the State of Texas has deployed state resources.
Currently, TPWD resources including TPWD firefighters, Texas State Park Police Officers, Texas Game Wardens, fire response vehicles ranging in size from trucks to UTVS, the Texas Game Warden helicopter and drones are responding to the fire with more department resources expected.
TAMFS is responding with fire engines, heavy equipment, aviation, and support personnel. Additionally, TAMFS activated three Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System strike teams, including approximately 75 firefighters. An Emergency Medical Task Force Wildland Support Package is also responding to provide medical needs. The Texas Division of Emergency Management is responding with personnel support on scene, and the Texas Military Department deployed a UH60 helicopter with a fire suppression water bucket and has additional aircraft on standby.
A shelter has been set up at Elgin Parks and Recreation Center, located at 361 SH 95 in Elgin. Local officials are handling evacuations. Residents are asked to monitor the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page for evacuation updates. Real-time information about the Rolling Pines Fire can be found on the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System website.
Since the Bastrop County Complex Fire in 2011, Bastrop State Park has conducted about 18 prescribed fires covering roughly 3,220 acres. Prescribed fire is critical to reducing fuel loads that would otherwise lead to catastrophic wildfires, and is essential to the management and stewardship of the forest. All TPWD prescribed fires are carefully planned and mindfully implemented by qualified personnel using National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards.
TPWD will continue to provide updates on its website as they are available and will be following up with a detailed investigation once the fire is contained.
SOURCE: TPWD | Photo: Lone Star State Incident Management Team – Texas A&M Forest Service