UPDATED! Wildfires: Bastrop + Central Texas + More. Texas Is On Fire.

As many of us are relaxing with family and friends on this Labor Day, my fellow Texas in the Bastrop area are fleeing huge wildfires.  97% of Texas is under a drought warning so while it feels nice outside from the lower temps of the winds from Tropical Storm Lee, these winds are fueling an already too dry ground with the fast moving firestorm.

Photo Courtesy of CNN Wire

Over 450 homes have been destroyed and a mother and baby were killed when they could not escape the fast moving wildfire in time.  Over 25,000 acres have burned across Texas jumping the Colorado River and highways in the just the past few days.  If you are in these areas, please use caution and stay safe.

Just take a look at this raw footage from Texans in the path of these wildfires: 

And this where I’ve driven so many times on my way from the Houston area to Austin:

And one more that shows how quickly you can go from thinking the wildfire is far away to yeah … not so much:

So for those of you who may be making snide comments about Governor Perry cancelling his attendance at this week’s GOP Debate in SC to help lead Texas and her citizens in containment, restoration and recovery of and from these devastating wildfires, I say STOP it now.  Looks like our Governor was trying to participate in DeMint forum FROM Texas, but CNN now reporting it cannot happen. It is what it is. 

I understand that he’ll be criticized whether he stays or whether he returns home, but I am thankful he’s returning to Texas.  After all, Texans have been fighting these wildfires for MANY months now with no relief.  Over 3.5 MILLION acres have burned in Texas in 2011, so please stop politicizing Perry’s decision to return to Texas. 

Governor Perry is quoted as saying “I’m not paying attention to politics right now … There will be plenty of time for that. People’s lives and their possessions are at stake and that’s substantially more important.”  I couldn’t agree more.  For those of you still skeptical, and I know many are, please instead turn that negative energy into something positive by helping your fellow citizen by donating to one to the suggested links below.  

Various updates can be found at City of Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Track all the Texas wildfires here!  There are many links to monitor the movement and locations.  This link provides wildfire containment percentages when you click the fire icon. 

Please also check this map from the Texas Department of Transportation on what roads are closed so you can plan accordingly.

To help picture the size of the Bastrop fire, here’s a map that shows the area it covers.

Please help by donating here (ht @KXAN_News):

  • FIREFIGHTER MANPOWER REQUEST: Anyone in Central Texas that has firefighting experience is requested to call 512-978-1187!
  • American Red Cross Central Texas – only monetary donations at this time, but check the website for additional info on assistance that can be provided.
  • To get involved providing supplies and relief to families affected by the wildfires, please email: serve@celebrationchurchtx.com.
  • A Facebook page is taking donations, but no cash at this time.
  • Faith Family Services in Hutto is picking up clothing and food donations for delivery to area pantries and organizations in direct contact with victims. They are also coordinating emergency housing with area homes. For more information, email: faithfamilyhomes@yahoo.com or call 210-334-1708.

More info on how to help can be found on KXAN’s website at the jump here!  

Thousands of updates on properties and evacuations in Texas can be found on the Texas Storm Chasers Facebook page.

Your support is critical and urgent – Help Texas and the Wildland Firefighters by making a tax deductible donation to Texas Wildfire Relief Fund today!

Support the communities affected by the Texas wildfires 2011 Facebook page.
Operation Supply Drop is delivering vital supplies.  Please consider helping them out.

U-haul is offering 30 DAYS FREE STORAGE for those affected by fires.

Want to listen for emergency notifications?  iTunes really does has an app for that:  Scanner Radio.

Twitter users please follow news on these wildfires by using hashtags #txfire #txwildfire #centraltxfires.

Please say a prayer for all those affected by these horrific events.   And pray for rain in Texas too because as it stands now, it doesn’t look like any is coming soon.

Much appreciated if you added additional ways to help our fellow Texans to the comment thread too … 🙂

Here are a couple of pics I took from my iPhone Sunday (1615 hours) to show how close the Montgomery and Grimes County wildfire are to me in Cypress, a suburb NW of Houston.  

Photo by Michelle Lancaster

Photo by Michelle Lancaster

And this also on Sunday (1800 hours) from my daughter Jessica on her way via I10 West back to college at Texas State.

Photo by Jessica Lancaster

And another taken from in front of our house in Cypress Sunday evening (1845 hours).

Photo by Michelle Lancaster

If these pictures and videos don’t quite capture the magnitude of these Texas wildfires, maybe this picture of the Austin skyline taken on Sunday afternoon will.

Photo Courtesy of deannaroy.com

And you can see the fires in Texas FROM SPACE.

Central Texas wildfires by the numbers.

Way too close to us all.  Praying for all those in the path of these destructive wildfires and for the firefighters that are doing all they can to protect us. 

Thank you!

From Mike Flynn at Big Government:
Texas Tea Parties Mobilize to Assist Firefighters, Victims of Wildfires

Learn more about Citizen Patriot Response today!

Pic below received today 9/7 taken driving to Houston near Bastrop.  WOW.  Prayers!

UPDATE 9/8/2011:  In regards to media stories that the Texas Forest Service budget was slashed by Governor Perry and the Texas Legislature, please read this that proves those accusations as FALSE.  Just keeping you in the loop to the truth.

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