Texas wildfire kills two people who refused evacuation orders
The two people found dead Tuesday were residents who remained in an evacuated neighborhood and were discovered by sheriff's deputies patrolling burned areas in Bastrop County, said Sissy Jones, a Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
“We’re evacuating well ahead of the fires, and unfortunately we just have residents who refuse to leave their homes,” Jones said.
Bastrop County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Fisher said in a briefing that firefighters have made some progress in containing the blaze, but did not provide a containment figure.
Fisher said he was satisfied with the resources in place to battle the blaze, including the 336 firefighters currently working in 12-hour shifts. But earlier Tuesday, the Texas Forest Service said it was requesting 300 to 400 additional firefighters from state and local agencies to assist in the effort.
Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald said that FEMA officials were in the county Tuesday morning to begin surveying damage.
The quick-moving fire would have overwhelmed any number of personnel in place when it broke out, Fisher said. The fire was “absolutely beyond our control, or anyone’s control,” he said.
On Sunday, a separate fire burning in the East Texas town of Gladewater killed a 20-year-old woman and her 18-month-old daughter, after trapping them inside their home. That fire was eventually extinguished.
-- Ashley Powers in Bastrop, Texas, and Stephen Ceasar and Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Los Angeles
Photo: Eric Kemper looks in a fire safe file cabinet at items in what used to be his house that was burned down by the wildfires still burning out of control near Bastrop, Texas. Credit: EPA/Larry W. Smith.