I'm not sure if you have noticed, but central Texas has been on fire for most of the summer. We have been berated by constant threats of flare-ups and extreme fire warnings. Barbeques across the state have been wrapped in caution tape, soccer moms would yell at you for lighting a cigarette and a constant smokestack billowed from the horizon, but finally it seems the fires are dying down. Unfortunately they have left a scar that all of central Texas feels. One of our post popular parks, The Bastrop State Park, has had its 6000 acres described as a ‘moonscape'. This park was beautiful, and it wasn't just some park in Texas, it was THE park.
Everybody from Austin camps in Bastrop. Lost Pines, which is part of Bastrop State Park (and mostly for the Boyscouts) is rumored to be completely gone. I've been to camp there, I've had friends who have worked there and now it is gone. Almost everyone I grew up with has had some moment of their life at this place and some areas of the park are said to never recover from the fire.
In Austin multiple fires have burned in Northwest Austin, where I grew up. A few houses were burned down in an upper-middle class suburban neighborhood, luckily the firefighters were able to save 300 of those homes. Even a fire started a mile down the road from my house in San Marcos, Tx. It only gew to 15 acres mostly because of the rapid response of emergency personal. There were planes, helicopters and over 3 different county fire departments fighting the blaze. Only 2 houses had to evacuate and both were saved.
It is weird seeing a natural disaster get so close to home compared to watching the hurricanes and floods across the nation on TV. If you'd like to help out, head over to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund. [Via]