Weekend rain finishes off Hidden Pines Fire

BASTROP COUNTY - A sign of hope glimmering in the Monday morning sun. Rainwater puddled in the near 5,000 acre burn scar of the Hidden Pines Fire.

"The Hidden Pines wildfire is gone away,it's over," said Mike Fisher, the coordinator of the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management. Fisher said this weekend's wide-spread rain finished the fire off
and didn't cause any erosion issues like they were afraid of.

"What it did do is rebuild a lot of soil moisture that had been going away over the summer. And it's clearly lessened the risk of any further wildfire.  At least for some time," Fisher said.

Fisher said the fire may be out but the event as a whole is a long way from being in the rear view mirror.

"Well it's not over until we get houses rebuilt, hazardous trees removed and demolition debris collected," he said.

Out in the affected area, there are digital signs posted warning people about falling trees.

Many of the trees in the burn scar are hanging on by a thread.  Fisher says the next thing that they have to do is cut down thousands of trees that they've tagged that are about ready to fall down themselves.

"We've counted a little over 4,000 hazardous trees," Fisher said.

Fisher said 64 homes were destroyed in the fire causing $3.9 million in damage. That's not counting any of the vehicles or boats lost.

"Probably a little more than half of the destroyed structures were not covered by insurance or at least not adequate insurance," Fisher said.

So he says any monetary donations to the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery team would be helpful.  It's clear the Hidden Pines fire wasn't as long of an ordeal as the 2011 fire but as Fisher keeps reminding everyone, it was still a significant event.

"For 64 families that lost their homes over the last few weeks in this fire, this is the biggest event likely that they'll ever see.  So I don't like to compare," he said.

If you'd like to donate to the recovery efforts, you may do that at bastropcountylongtermrecovery.org

The burn ban in Bastrop County has been lifted due to this weekends rain but officials are encouraging people to still be careful.

As for who started the Hidden Pines fire, the Bastrop County Sherrif's office said they're still waiting on the fire investigation before they decide whether to file any charges.