Bastrop Recovery: One Year Later
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The Bastrop County Complex fire proved to be the most destructive wildfire in Texas history.
On Sept. 4, 2011, high winds pushed trees into power lines. Two sparks quickly became an inferno fed by a drought-stricken forest and later by people’s homes. Two people died, 1,691 homes were destroyed and 32,000 acres of land burned.
The giant fire smoldered for nearly a month and caused more than $300 million in damage. Since then, 700 homes have been rebuilt or are in the process of being rebuilt.
This week, Bastrop is marking the one year anniversary of the massive wildfire that scorched the land and changed thousands of lives. YNN is looking back at the disaster and the recovery -- in our show, Bastrop Recovery: One Year Later in the video above.
Re-birth and re-growth are happening not only in Bastrop, but in counties all across Central Texas. As the Bastrop County Complex fire was building, the Union Chapel fire forced 18 Cedar Creek neighborhoods to evacuate. The flames covered more than 700 acres and set 25 homes ablaze.
Just about the same amount of homes burned in Steiner Ranch, and hundreds were threatened. Travis County Deputy Constable Kevin Aigner, 38, lost his life while helping families return to their homes. He collapsed from a heart attack on Sept. 10, 2011 after spending days in the smoke.
As we reach the one year anniversary of the wildfires that tore through Central Texas, take a look back through the photos from each of the fires by clicking here.
From the football team
, to the thousands of students and hundreds of teachers, Bastrop community members learned lifelong lessons from the rebuilding effort. The kick off to this new school year marked the beginning
of the new, post-fire chapter.
Even before Bastrop ignited, two fires burned In Pflugerville. The Hody and Pigeon Forge fires forced more than 190 families to pack what they could in their cars and run, leaving their homes behind. A fire also raged in Cedar Park, destroying two homes. A brush fire threatened Leander. Near Lake Travis, the Pedernales fire ignited, claiming 40 homes, almost 6,500 acres and burned for 11 days.
Rebuilding portions of fire-ravaged Bastrop County includes protecting the region’s smallest residents, the Houston Toad.
The effort to rebuild also includes a massive reforestation campaign. It’s a push to replant the majestic lost pines. Now, the seedlings from that effort are sprouting up in nurseries all over Central Texas, including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Volunteers there are now tending the seedlings which will one day shade Bastrop.
- 8/30/2012 Memorial flags represent homes destroyed by Bastrop County blaze
- 8/29/2012 2011 Spicewood fire wildfire ruled accidental
- 8/27/2012 Tahitian Village still feeling effects of Bastrop County Complex fire
- 8/24/2012 Share your wildfire photos one year later
- 8/23/2012 Spicewood neighborhood learns lesson from last year's fire
- 8/20/2012 Bastrop recovery slowed to protect endangered Houston Toad
- 8/17/2012 One year later, Bastrop County officials continue fire recovery
- 8/9/2012 Experts plead to council for fire prevention funding
- 8/7/2012 Experts warn safety commission of extreme fire danger
- 8/4/2012 As fire anniversary approaches, Steiner Ranch residents strive for safety
- 7/11/2012 Proposed museum to preserve Bastrop wildfire history
- 7/10/2012 Bastrop Wildfire Case Study reveals a job well done
- 6/30/2012 H-E-B marks milestone with donation to Bastrop County
- 6/20/2012 Bastrop County pushes to remove debris, dead trees
- 6/20/2012 Bastrop residents facing debris removal deadline
- 6/11/2012 $16K worth of disaster response equipment stolen in Bastrop
- 5/31/2012 Recovery continues for Bastrop wildfire victims
- 5/30/2012 State official: Federal funding for wildfire victims will run short
- 5/23/2012 Future development irks some Steiner Ranch residents
- 5/23/2012 Bastrop County's Mike Fisher honored in Washington DC
- 4/29/2012 Wildfire stories told through 'Art from the Ashes'
- 4/20/2012 Cancer-stricken wildfire victim moves into new home
- 4/20/2012 Two Democrats vie for Bastrop County judge's seat
- 4/17/2012 New initiative aims to get Austinites 'Wildfire Ready'
- 4/14/2012 Bastrop home show offers options for rebuilding fire victims
- 4/3/2012 Bastrop fire response focus of emergency management conference
- 2/24/2012 Steiner Ranch fire victims rebuild
- 2/17/2012 Wildfire danger focus of summit
- 2/11/2012 Bastrop County residents treated to 'tree-for-all'
- 2/3/2012 YNN Central Texas Wildfire Coverage
- 1/27/2012 Business Now: Big money headed to Bastrop
- 1/20/2012 Texas gets $31M HUD grant for wildfires recovery
- 1/16/2012 2009 Bastrop wildfire lawsuit settled
- 1/12/2012 Testimony continues in Bluebonnet Electric class-action lawsuit
- 1/11/2012 Volunteers turn burned Bastrop trees into lumber
- 1/6/2012 Bastrop fire victims receive long-term help
- 1/5/2012 USDA adds Central Texas counties to disaster list
- 12/29/2011 Year in Review: Bastrop County wildfire and rebuilding
- 12/28/2011 Year in Review: Wildfires across Central Texas
- 12/26/2011 Year in Review: Record heat and drought of 2011
- 12/21/2011 Holiday shopping brings much-needed boost to Bastrop County
- 12/11/2011 Lost Pines Christmas Celebration gives Bastrop County chance to rebuild
- 12/11/2011 Pink Santa works to brighten Bastrop County's holiday
- 11/18/2011 Bastrop residents hear advice from California wildfire victims
- 11/18/2011 Your Outdoors: Bastrop wildfire impacts endangered toad
- 11/14/2011 Bastrop wildfire pushes pesky pests to the forefront
- 10/31/2011 Some Bastrop wildfire victims aim for speedy rebuild
- 10/31/2011 New fire station designed to improve response
- 10/29/2011 Volunteers continue cleanup effort in Bastrop County
- 10/25/2011 Debris removal still daunting in Bastrop
- 10/17/2011 Star-studded wildfire relief concert rocks Erwin Center
- 10/18/2011 Congressional leaders examine wildfire response
- 10/14/2011 Backstage Pass: Stars coming together for fire relief
- 10/11/2011 Bastrop holds 'community conversation' on wildfire recovery
- 10/7/2011 Your Outdoors: Park near Bastrop welcomes visitors
- 10/6/2011 Embers from past fire spark Old Potato Road blaze
- 10/3/2011 Firefighting aircraft on standby at ABIA
- 10/3/2011 Bastrop wildfire animals now up for adoption
- 10/3/2011 Hard luck meets match with Stage IV breast cancer patient
- 10/1/2011 FEMA sets up mobile information site in Steiner Ranch
- 9/30/2011 Agriculture industry suffering in Bastrop
- 9/29/2011 Being prepared before wildfires start
- 9/28/2011 Bastrop fire most expensive in state history
- 9/28/2011 Metal business booming in light of Bastrop County wildfire
- 9/26/2011 Bastrop residents file lawsuit against Bluebonnet Electric
- 9/26/2011 Power fully restored to Bastrop County
- 9/24/2011 Devastating wildfire could put Bastrop property values in peril
- 9/22/2011 Travis County Fire Rescue brought into mutual aid agreement
- 9/22/2011 Businesses flood Bastrop as community rebuilds
- 9/21/2011 Texas music legends to come together for fire relief
- 9/20/2011 Business owners creative in giving for wildfire relief
- 9/21/2011 Report: Downed power lines likely sparked Bastrop fire
- 9/18/2011 FEMA to visit Leander library this week
- 9/17/2011 Friday night football in Smithville brings residents together
- 9/16/2011 Festival-goers help out with fire relief
- 9/16/2011 Bastrop focused on recovery, fire 80 percent contained
- 9/15/2011 Bastrop Bears hit the field as community rebuilds
- 9/15/2011 Lost Bastrop pets reunite with owners
- 9/14/2011 After devastating blaze, Spicewood community rebuilds together
- 9/14/2011 Union Grove fire 80 percent contained, gives residents a scare
- 9/14/2011 Fire reignites near Salado
- 9/14/2011 Wildfire Relief: A Time to Rebuild
- 9/14/2011 Displaced fire victims fill Bastrop RV parks
- 9/13/2011 Austin area hotels fill up fast with wildfire victims, ACL goers
- 9/13/2011 After the fire: A look inside Bastrop State Park
- 9/13/2011 Unemployment Insurance help on the way to Bastrop
- 9/13/2011 Bastrop officials warn of 'red-flag' weather conditions
- 9/13/2011 Facing ashes of the Bastrop fire
- 9/13/2011 Wildfire victim faces Mother Nature's wrath, twice
- 9/13/2011 Steiner Ranch residents begin to pick up the pieces
- 9/12/2011 Austin fundraisers benefit Bastrop fire victims
- 9/12/2011 FEMA sets up in Bastrop
- 9/11/2011 Interfaith community gathers to spread word of peace
- 9/11/2011 Tahitian Village church survives blaze, brings evacuees together
- 9/12/2011 20 of 22 missing Bastrop County residents found Sunday
- 9/11/2011 Man loses home and business in Bastrop fire
- 9/10/2011 Bastrop press conference continues without Perry
- 9/10/2011 Lack of information fuels frustrations among residents
- 9/10/2011 Second victim identified in Bastrop wildfire
- 9/10/2011 Residents begin re-entry as fire is 50 percent contained
- 9/10/2011 Behind the fire lines of the Bastrop blaze
- 9/9/2011 Steiner Ranch fire 100 percent contained
- 9/9/2011 Donations pour into Bastrop County
- 9/9/2011 Bastrop County Complex fire now 40 percent contained
- 9/8/2011 In town's time of need, Bastrop Bears lend helping hand
- 9/8/2011 DC-10 prepares to fight flames Friday
- 9/8/2011 Political figures survey Central Texas wildfire damage
- 9/9/2011 Residents return to ruins, other homes saved in Bastrop County
- 9/8/2011 Video Report: FEMA begins assessing wildfire damage
- 9/8/2011 Steiner Ranch fire 75 percent contained, residents begin restoration
- 9/8/2011 'King of the Hill' writer home destroyed in Spicewood fire
- 9/7/2011 Smoke from area wildfires seeps into Austin
- 9/7/2011 Artist returns to rubble after fire rips through Hill Country home
- 9/6/2011 Fire crews battle Cedar Park apartment fire
- 9/6/2011 Teens suspected of arson in Leander fire
- 9/6/2011 2 confirmed dead in Bastrop fire
- 9/9/2011 How you can help wildfire victims
- 9/6/2011 Containment of Steiner Ranch fire 'slow and tedious'
- 9/5/2011 Pedernales Fire One containment back up to 80 percent
- 9/5/2011 Gov. Perry cancels campaign plans to assess Texas fire damage
- 9/6/2011 Bastrop fire remains out of control, more homes destroyed
- 9/5/2011 Pedernales Fire One destroys estimated 20 homes
- 9/5/2011 Bastrop County Complex fire destroys 400 homes, spans 17,500 acres