Residents evacuated because of Bastrop Texas wildfire hopefully will be allowed to return to their properties by Thursday, public safety officials said.
Depending on conditions, the re-entry plan might change. People in Tahitian Village will be allowed back in Wednesday. The Bastrop Convention Center continues to serve as a communications center for evacuees.
Circle D, Pine Valley, KC Estates and Pine Hill Estates opened on Monday and the road blocks were removed on Highway 21. All communities are scheduled to open until Thursday.
Texas Task Force 1 has completed an entire grid search of the burn zone on Monday. Two people are missing, Arlene Page and Steve Ingram. Bastrop County Sheriff Terry Pickering do not think they have perished in the fire. “We don’t know if they’re actual residents. It may just be a summer home or something like that,” he said.
Aqua Water Supply are disinfecting water system on Monday and water should be drinkable without boiling by Tuesday afternoon. Bluebonnet Electric restored power to some homes, but those in the heavily damaged areas may not receive power until September 21.
1,350 firefighters struggles to contain the wildfire, while power and water are cut off to some areas. There are still some hot spots, fallen power lines and trees need to be cleared out while crews are trying to restore power. The fire was more than 70 percent contained, said Texas Forest Service.
The recovery program begins in Bastrop Texas.
Barack Obama signed the federal disaster declaration late Friday night, then federal funds, resources and Federal Emergency Management Agency support for the victims were available for Texas.
On Sunday night the FEMA started a temporary shelter and assistance program and made wildfire victims eligible for money to pay for nights in a hotel. Rick Perry has launched a similar program this weekend. The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low interest disaster loans both to businesses and individuals affected by fire.
The debris management is very important, fallen trees have to be removed and destroyed properties will require removing large amounts of burned building materials.
On Monday children returned to school in Bastrop Texas. Schools re-opened in the Bastrop and Smithville school districts.
Bastrop Independent School District headquarters received donations of backpacks, pencils, notebooks and binders and distributed to the children.
Buses picked kids up outside their homes or made detours to shelter hotels. The school district provided breakfast and lunch for all students.
Only 6 percent of pupils were absent because were left homeless, moved in with relatives in other communities, or fell ill with smoke inhalation or other fire-related problems.
“Today has really been a smooth day. A lot of smiles from the kids. It looked from afar mostly like a normal day, except for a few more hugs and a little extra loving and attention,” said Martha Werner, principal of Mina Elementary School.
Over 5,000 people were evacuated by the most destructive blaze that has covered drought-stricken Texas since Labor Day weekend. Hundreds of families are homeless and lots of people remained just with little more than the clothes which they were wearing.
Fed by winds whipped up by Tropical Storm Lee, over 190 wildfires statewide have burned thousands homes and killed four people. In Bastrop Texas two small fires has formed a dreadful blaze, Bastrop County Complex fire, that has destroyed more than an estimated 1,554 homes and blackened over 34,000 acres, heavily damaging Lost Pines and Bastrop State Park.