Bastrop fires

Eye on Texas: Bastrop Wildfires


A version of this story ran in the September 2015 issue.

Bastrop fires
In 2011, wildfires burned more than 30,000 acres of land in Bastrop.  Spencer Selvidge

The Bastrop fires that burned in September and October of 2011 were devastating. After they were put out, I had the opportunity to document the damage from the air for a graduate school reporting project. The aerial view of more than 30,000 burned acres gave me a real sense of the fire’s immense scale, and it was heartbreaking. From the air, the devastation looks abstract, possessing a desolate beauty only nature can create. But seeing the foundations of homes in the charred landscape and the park trails through a forest that no longer exists, the emotional, financial and environmental toll also become apparent.