BASTROP COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Ray Pumprhey of Smithville spent most of the day wondering if his family’s house was burned to the ground. He has received conflicting reports on whether the nearly 4400 acre Hidden Pines fire consumed it.READ MORE: Anna Police Investigating Crash That Killed 22-Year-Old Man
“Not much I can do about it, not much to think about. You just stay positive, hoping it’s still there, and if not, I’ll have to deal with it when it happens.”
But just after 5 p.m., Pumphrey found out at least one of four structures on his property was destroyed. Pumphrey says he’s thought about moving before since evacuating four times since 2009 due to wildfires.
As the wildfire grew Thursday, so did the firefight. The fire went from 15 to 25 percent contained.
After Governor Greg Abbott declared a disaster in Bastrop County, that cleared the way for more resources. The state says a large DC-10 air tanker was expected to arrive before sundown.
Two Blackhawk and two Chinook helicopters were used to battle the fire. When Andrew Mabry of Smithville evacuated, he took video of the fire from his quad-copter. The state says as many as 30 homes remain under immediate threat of the fire. Mabry’s initial thought about the fire was ‘here we go again’. The Bastrop fires destroyed his house four years ago.READ MORE: Texas Joins Oklahoma's Effort To Overturn McGirt
“I wasn’t there when it happened, so I was not able to get anything, but this time I had plenty of notice, plenty of family and friends to help so fortunately, I was able to get everything out of the house.”
His street is one of 40 that Bastrop County shut down after evacuating residents. Smithville opened a shelter for residents and their pets. Norma Martinez evacuated, but chose to live out of her camper.
On Thursday afternoon, she watched the large plume of smoke in the distance. “It’s a huge worry, but you try not to think about it. You try to think positively, and say it’s going to be ok, my house is going to be ok. I’m hoping and praying.”
Two hundred firefighters are already on the ground battling the fire. Crews from Dallas, Frisco, and other North Texas fire departments are headed here, as well as those from Florida and Georgia.
No word on what sparked this fire.
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