Firefighters are mopping up the remnants of a blaze that tore through Bastrop State Park this week. All but 100 acres of the park were blackened by wildfire, but crews managed to save many historic Depression-era buildings.
“We lost a couple of scenic overlooks, which we hate, but the base of them is rock,” Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Cox said. “The wooden covers to them can be replaced when funding becomes available.”
Firefighters worked 30 hours without rest to limit damage by the fire. They saved cabins and other structures by spraying them with water and carving fire lanes around them with bulldozers loaned to the agency by volunteers.
Bastrop State Park is one of more than 50 parks across Texas that was designed and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal-era program that used public money to create work for the unemployed during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Another concern for parks officials is the fate of the Houston Toad, a small, endangered amphibian whose largest population is in the Lost Pines area of Bastrop.
“We haven’t had time or resources yet to get our biologists in there yet to study the environmental issues,” Cox said. “We have to concentrate on the emergency situation first.”
“That emergency situation is beginning to lessen by the day and even by the hour,” he said.
This satellite photo shows how Bastrop State Park was right in the middle of the burn zone. As a side note, the photo also shows where a nearby land owner used hundreds of trees to spell his name, "LUEKE." NASA has called this "a target that is also useful for evaluating spatial resolution of astronaut photographs."
Here’s a video TWPD posted yesterday showing their firefighting efforts in Bastrop State Park.