On Thursday night, residents in Bastrop County faced multiple evacuations as firefighters continued to battle the growing fire. As of approximately 5 p.m., the Hidden Pines fire was reported at being more than 4,300 acres with a containment of merely 25%. The fire had grown quickly from 375 acres on Wednesday morning to more than 1,500 acres by that afternoon. It has since more than doubled, leading to more than 150 people to register for shelter. More than 30 homes and structures have been burned in the fires, including several homes.
Currently, there are several agencies working together to put out the fire, including the Texas National Guard. Some, however, believe it may be too late. It was reported that firefighters were not called to help until late Wednesday, when the fire had already grown to a severe danger. According to one firefighter, the main reason for the delay was the fire risk in Austin; officials were hesitant to move precious resources from one threat to another.
“We weren’t sure that Austin wasn’t going to pop off a line of fires yesterday and be using a lot of their resources so it is a statewide strategic management of which resources,” said one official with the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster today, which marks the need for immediate resources.
"As severe wildfires continue to impact Bastrop County, I strongly urge Texans in that area to take all possible precautions to ensure their safety. By declaring a state of disaster in Bastrop County, the state of Texas is activating resources to help affected communities as efficiently and as effectively as possible," said Abbott in a statement.
Bastrop County suffered from a devastating fire in 2011 that burned nearly 1,700 homes and resulted in the deaths of 2 people. Abbott said today that “this has to be an echo of a nightmare that (residents) faced just a few years ago.”