Winds Help Fuel The Devastating Wildfire In Bastrop

Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to take a first-hand look this afternoon at a massive wildfire that's destroyed hundreds of homes in the Bastrop area.

The fire around the town that’s often a stopping point for Houstonians on the drive to Austin along highway 71 has been fueled by gusty winds and the dry weather. The Texas Forest Service says at least 300 homes have been destroyed with no signs of the fire slowing down yet.

Jan Amen is with the Texas Forest Service and is in Bastrop.

“Right outside the window, I’m looking at it now, it’s gray and dark black and white billowing up above and it just goes on for as far as you can see. And we have fire engines and support trucks going by, a bulldozer from Kentucky, an engine from Louisiana, another engine from California. It makes you feel good that people are here to help us.”

Firefighters are trying to slow the fire mostly from the air because of the danger involved with fighting it on the ground. Amen says this is one of the most serious wildfires she’s seen.

“It reminds me a lot of fires I’ve seen in Montana where you get a plume-driven fire. The fire creates its own weather and the
smoke goes straight up and yesterday they were saying the plume was 25,000 feet in the air. This one is really, really big.” 

Bastrop is about 30 miles southeast of Austin, but some of the smoke from that fire has already drifted this way. Some of the residents who have had to leave their homes are staying at four shelters that have been set-up in the area.