Lost Pines Property Owners Fire Protection Task Force

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Too Little, Too Late: Lessons Learned from the Hidden Pines Fire

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Who We Are

We are private property owners in the Lost Pines forest adjacent to Bastrop and Buescher State Parks in Bastrop County, Texas. In the last six years, thousands of families have been evacuated from three out-of-control wildfires in our county that inflicted unprecedented damage. Because those wildland fires were not quickly controlled, we lost homes and furniture, outbuildings, vehicles, beloved pets, family photographs and heirlooms, tools essential to our livelihood, boys' and girls' favorite toys and bicycles, our clothing, property value, and more. Plus, adults and children lost a priceless sense of emotional calm and security that may be gone forever.

Our families also lost forests on our property comprised of towering loblolly pine trees and stately oaks, as well as deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other creatures living alongside us who perished when they could not outrun the flames.

These losses of property and a treasured ecosystem have happened in this small geographic area again... and again...and again. We are sad, frustrated, and fearful because of our losses.

Our Mission

In America, government is of, by, and for the people. That's why property owners are stepping forward to proclaim that proactive steps must be taken immediately to ensure there is an effective, timely state-of-the-art response to future wildland fires in Bastrop County. Property owners want to work alongside government officials to ensure that happens.

What we are doing and will do:

  1. Gather official information about the Hidden Pines fire to determine what worked well and not so well in stopping the wildfire. Information is being gathered through open records requests of governmental entities, interviews with managers and firefighters, and from experts on how to effectively contain wildland fires.
  2. Gather information from property owners and residents in the Lost Pines about their personal experiences in the three wildfires and recommendations for improvements in the future.
  3. Report to the public and the news media the Lost Pines Property Owners Fire Protection Task Force findings and specific recommendations to improve the response to wildland fires.
  4. Advocate locally and at the state Capitol for greater support for volunteer fire departments, which try to do their best even though resources are limited.
  5. Advocate for major changes in how wildland fire incidents are managed in Bastrop County so there are measurable improvements in protecting property, lives of people and animals, state parks, public and private forests, and the ecosystem.