The Lost Pines Forest of Bastrop Texas was heavily affected by the most dreadful wildfire in Texas history.
The Lost Pines Forest (124,000-acre) is a belt of loblolly pines, a disjunct population of trees. It is belived it is part of a much larger pine forest from the last glacial period of the Pleistocene era. A part of Lost Pines Forest is inside of Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park. Bastrop County Complex fire has powerfully attacked this unique forest.
Robert Crossman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said almost entire 6,000-acre Bastrop State Park have been attacked by fire. Most of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps-constructed structures on the park were saved, but two CCC observation structures are believed to have been damaged. Lots of historic structures were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
“Much of Bastrop State Park has been burned and our firefighters have once again shown their mettle with incredible effort to save the historic district of this National Historic Landmark,” said State Parks Director Brent Leisure. His home and that of Buescher State Park superintendent Cullen Sartor were ruined by the blaze.
Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park were closed, but Palmetto State Park and Monument Hill State Historic Site remained open.
Lost Pines Forest is the home of the reclusive, small amphibians, endangered Houston toad. Brent Leisure said the toad, already affected by the drought, will be further stressed losing their habitat because of Bastrop Texas major wildfires.
There were many factors that contributed to the destructive power of the fire in Bastrop Texas.
The drought, hottest summer, Tropical Storm Lee, the massive growth in Texas’ population (doubled since 1970), urbanization, and cultivation of non-native plants as well as insufficient funds have led to a massive, wide-spread wildfire.
“That’s what’s making this doubly severe. No longer are we just burning rural land, trees and forest pastures, but we’re burning homes and, unfortunately, people.” said James Hull, director of the Texas Forest Service until 2008.
“Utility poles are still burning, stumps are still burning, wire is hanging through the air with only half a pole, swinging. Lines are on the ground,” said Mark Rose, CEO of Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
“This is unprecedented fire behavior. No one on the face of this Earth has ever fought fires in these extreme conditions” said Texas Forest Service.
Blaze has destroyed around 40,000 acres of forest in Cass County and continues to spread. The Bear Creek fire has burnt eight homes. The Riley Road fire has damaged 15,000 acres in Grimes, Montgomery and Waller. A wildfire near Houston was 60 percent contained on Friday, Texas Forest Service said.
During last week the Texas Forest Service has fought 186 fires across 156,517 acres and from the beginning of this year the US firefighters have responded to 18,887 wildfires over more than 3.5 million acres. Bastrop Texas was the heaviest affected area.