It has been a month and half since wildfires in Bastrop killed two people and destroyed more than 34,000 acres of land and 1,600 homes. But like after any disaster, the devastation extends beyond mere numbers. “Everyone in Bastrop County has been affected by this fire in some manner or not,” resident Bonnie Fisher said. “They know somebody, or they were affected directly by it.”

With the community of Bastrop in the long process of rebuilding, Fisher and six others share their stories in a video, each with a different experience. Three people, including Mike Fisher, had official roles in dealing with the fires.

“I’ve actually planned — both personally and professionally — for this fire,” said Fisher, the Bastrop County Emergency Coordinator. “I simply knew that one of these days, we would have this major, major tragic fire.”

Merri Lee Spuye, a retired resident, was among the thousands who were evacuated. “I think one of the biggest fears we had in the beginning of the fire was whether we even had a home left,” she said. “We had no idea what we would come back to.”

They mourn for their neighbors who lost their homes, and they miss the now-closed state park. But some that say the community will be stronger because of the fires. “God works in strange ways,” Spruye said, and “something good will come out of it.”

Produced by Lizzie Chen
for KUT News and Reporting Texas

Music by Rod French

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