Bastrop County Judge wants ‘full account’ of what happened after prescribed burn spans over 800 acres

Texas A&M Forest Service says the fire is now 95% contained

Bastrop County fire 1/18/21 (KSAT)

BASTROP COUNTY – A prescribed burn set in Bastrop County last week is now 95% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The fire, which has burned 812 acres of land so far, was set last Tuesday by Texas Parks and Wildlife in Bastrop State Park. As of Sunday, fire officials were still monitoring its remnants.

The flames unexpectedly spread beyond the intended fire boundaries, forcing about 150 households to evacuate. However, residents were able to safely return to their homes on Wednesday, according to a report from the Texas Tribune.

Now, county officials are looking to hold TPWD accountable.

In a letter sent out Friday by Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape, he said TPWD never got the county’s permission to have the prescribed burn.

“To be clear, Texas Parks and Wildlife did not ask for our permission to conduct a prescribed burn this past Tuesday, nor did we give them permission to do so. As a state agency, they conduct these events under the direction of a fire boss using national standards for prescribed burns. I have made it clear to TPWD that the use of controlled burns in Bastrop County must never again threaten our citizens or their residences,” Pape said.

Pape said he hopes to get a “full account” of what happened when the fire got out of control.

“We want to know every detail about this fire. I expect to receive a plan from TPWD very soon that will lay out a full review of this event and I will keep you informed of the process and the finding,” Pape said.

You can read the full letter issued by Pape below.

About the Author:

Emily Martin is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.