Independent panel to look into cause of Rolling Pines Fire

An independent panel has been selected to review the circumstances and cause of last week’s Rolling Pines Fire at Bastrop State Park.

The Rolling Pines Fire is now 100% contained and spanned more than 800 acres as of Monday afternoon. The cause of the fire is linked to a prescribed burn by Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD). 

Despite the warnings of wildfire dangers from the Texas A&M Forest Service as well as other agencies, last week officials defended the practice shortly after the wildfire broke out.

The Texas A&M Forest Service ordered the panel, which will consist of experts from state forestry agencies in Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina knowledgeable about prescribed burns on both public and private land as well as about how fire reacts in environments similar to Bastrop State Park. 

Some objectives of this review will include:

  • Review the preparation, planning and execution of the prescribed fire
  • Evaluate staff, equipment and safety resources
  • Determine whether the burn plan conformed to best practices related to prescribed fire
  • Develop and issue recommendations to TPWD

Prescribed burns at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks have temporarily been suspended until the independent review is complete and the results and recommendations have been fully evaluated, says TPWD.

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