Hidden Pines Fire

Tammy Brown

Hidden Pines Fire from Little Piney


Sadly, Bastrop County is suffering another devastating fire.  The fire is no longer spreading, but 4582 acres have burned, including 48 “structures,” probably homes, and parts of Buescher and Bastrop State Parks.  Four thousand of those acres are still burning, and firefighters from all over the state and Florida are working night and day to hold the containment line.

While the fire was spreading, I watched the news from some 6-7 miles away.  Between Little Piney and the fire are a state park, a highway, and Lake Bastrop–a safe buffer.  Here, the sky has been strangely clear and blue most of the time while clouds of smoke are reported 40 miles away.  On this bright blue backdrop, Blackhawk helicopters are stark and startling reminders of disaster just over the lake and through the woods.  Friday, I saw the white DC-10 fly over like a warrior angel with its tank of flame retardant shining below.  Scattered on the grass, black twists of charred pine needles had traveled those 6-7 miles on the wind.  They turn to powder in your hand.

I felt so grateful not to be one of the evacuees waiting to hear the fate of their homes, or one of the folks at the edge of the fire, car packed, holding water hoses at the perimeter until they had to flee.  I was so relieved that my beloved pines weren’t burning, and, at the same time, deeply sad about the ones that were.  It felt wrong to worry over my risk from miles away when others were truly in harms way, and yet I felt the fear for days in my core.

Likely, the origin of the Hidden Pines fire was simply with a man on a tractor on a field performing the same task of mowing hay that hundreds of other Texans were busy with on the same day.  This particular tractor shed a spark in the dry air that hit the dry hay and lit a trail of fire that followed the tractor across the field and escaped to burn on for 4582 acres.





More about the Hidden Pines Fire

If you want to know more about the fire,  Austin station KVUE has the story on their website, frequently updated.

If you would like to contribute to disaster relief or volunteer for fire clean up visit   www.bastropcountylongtermrecovery.org for information.


  1. This is evocative, Tammy. Your words bring home the tragedy that so many are experiencing first-hand. Thank you for sharing this. Your writing is poignant and beautiful, even though the news you share is sad. We are all awaiting news that the fire will soon be 100% contained.

  2. This is so beautifully written and so moving. Contrasting the elegant prose with the subject matter gives me a sense of how you might have been feeling — grateful and devastated … all at the same time. Keep writing!

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