Firefighters make 'good progress' against Bastrop wildfire as officials promise an investigation

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Firefighters say they made “good progress” overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning in stopping the spread of the Rolling Pines Fire in Bastrop County, which has led to the evacuation of about 250 families.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the wildfire has burned 783 acres and is 30% contained. While some evacuated residents south of FM 1441 were able to return to their homes, officials say the main evacuation area and State Highway 21 remain closed.

Firefighters said there was no active fire in the main evacuation area and that no residences have been destroyed. There are no known injuries.

The weather Wednesday morning was described as helpful for firefighters, with high humidity and calmer winds. Kari Hines, a Texas A&M Forest Service spokesperson, said in a 9 a.m. press conference that firefighters on the ground were preparing for a cold front Wednesday evening.

The front, which will shift the wind direction to the south, is expected to bring higher winds to the area around 5 p.m. Firefighters are paying special attention to the southern boundaries of the fire to stop it from spreading in the evening, Hines said.

On Tuesday, officials said the fire likely started from a prescribed burn at Bastrop State Park earlier that morning. Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, said embers from the fire may have sparked fires outside of the boundaries of the prescribed burn.

Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said Wednesday that Smith has already committed to a review of how the prescribed burn started a threatening wildfire. “I do want to assure our citizens that having a controlled burn get out of hand is not acceptable in Bastrop County,” Pape said. “That is not something that we ever want. There will be a full investigation.”

Smith said the “number one priority” at the moment was protecting the community. Once the fire is out, his department will return, investigate and share the results with the community. “Nobody wants to know those answers more than our team at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,” he said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.