Texas fires claimed more than 1,000 homes in past three days
SUMMIT COUNTY — The 33,000-acre Bastrop Fire, one of the most destructive of the recent Texas wildfires, is now 30 percent contained, according to the Texas Forest Service, but the fire is still threatening a powerplant, as well as historic cabins in Bastrop State Park.
The western flank of the fire is still a threat to eastern edge of Bastrop, where 5,000 residents have been evacuated. The Bastrop Fire burned 785 homes during Labor Day weekend, according to the Sept. 7 update from the Texas Forest Service. The agency also said that 238 homes were burned by other fires in the past three days.
The Texas Forest Service on Sept. 6 responded to 19 new fires burning on 1,490 acres, including new large fires in Red River and Rusk counties. In the past 7 days, the Texas Forest Service has responded to 172 fires on 135,051 acres.
Since the start of the fire season, wildfires have burned 3.5 million acres, accounting for 49 percent of the total wildfire acres burned across the entire U.S. Six of the 10 largest wildfires in Texas history have burned in 2011.
Fires have burned in 199 of 254 counties in Texas. So far, more than 1,000 homes have been lost, but firefighters have been able to save more than 29,000 homes.
The fires have also keep aerial firefighters busy. According to a fact sheet from the Texas Forest Service, planes and helicopters have been in the air for a total of 14,577 hours, making more than 40,000 drops. On June 20, pilots mustered for a total of 238 flights.
Planes and helicopters have dropped almost 5 million gallons of retardant and more than 20 million gallons of water.