Bastrop Group Collects Wildfire History
By Carlos Morales, KUT News
The Bastrop County Commissioners Court recently approved of the assembly of a historical-archive task force. The goal of the group is to organize and archive documents from the 2011 wildfires that burned through Bastrop County.
Michael Fisher coordinates Bastrop’s Emergency Management department, which helped organize relief efforts during the fires. Fisher is creating the task force that will bring together documents from the event including maps, 911 phone calls, videos and photos.
“The idea is to capture all [of] those in some form and be able to present it,” Fisher says. “And keep it and just ensure that it’s not lost and undocumented.”
The group will include key figures from the community and – Fisher hopes – will be led by participants from libraries in Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville. Fisher says that once compiled, these documents have the potential to serve a larger purpose: Happenings during the wildfire, especially recovery efforts, could help other communities facing similar disasters.
“We want to make this community better. But if we can help make other communities better, that’s what this project is really about,” Fisher says.
The group expects to be assembled within three weeks, but how their efforts will be financed is uncertain. When the group comes together, Fisher says everything else will fall into place. This September will mark the first milestone in a long road to recovery, he says.
“It will be probably decades before it’s completely recovered,” says Fisher. “It isn’t the end of the story – it’s the beginning.”
Two people died in the wildfires that burned more than 34,000 acres and destroyed at least 1,600 homes across Bastrop County.