Some return home in fire-ravaged area
Firefighters in central Texas are halfway to controlling a wildfire that has destroyed dozens of homes, and authorities said Saturday that some residents have returned to their neighborhoods.
The Hidden Pines fire has consumed about 4,600 acres and razed nearly 50 homes and seven businesses, most of them just north of Buescher State Park.
Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said during a news conference Saturday that the fire is about 50 percent contained and that the blaze had not spread.
“It has been a good day in the battle,” he said.
About 200 firefighters from across the state have battled the blaze during daylight, and a DC10 jet tanker flown in from Tennessee that dropped nearly 12,000 gallons of retardant Friday was effective in closing gaps in the fire line.
Pape said some would be allowed to return to their homes Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Power was already being restored in some areas.
No injuries have been reported since the fire began Tuesday. A preliminary investigation has determined that a farmer mistakenly started the fire as he dragged a shredder through tall grass, causing an overheated bearing to ignite grass clippings.