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Residents reach out to help Bastrop evacuees

Sept. 6, 2011 at 4:06 a.m.
Updated Sept. 7, 2011 at 4:07 a.m.

Ken Smeltzer, right, hugs neighbor Heather Lutz, center,  outside Steiner Ranch on Tuesday.  More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in at least 57 wildfires across rain-starved Texas, most of them in one devastating blaze near Austin that is still raging out of control, officials said Tuesday.

MISSION VALLEY - Amanda Lynch cannot erase the images of a raging inferno burning through an area she's quite familiar with.

Lynch, a Mission Valley stay-at-home mom, was raised in Lexington, just north of Bastrop, and woke up Tuesday morning knowing she had to do something.

"I couldn't sleep at night," Lynch said. "It kept eating at me."

After downing some coffee, Lynch immediately got to work sending out a mass Facebook post about donations she and her friends are accepting for those affected by the fire in Bastrop, which is about 110 miles north of Victoria. She also started working on some fliers.

For now, the drop-off sites are at her mother's and mother-in-law's houses, but she's hoping word of mouth will help bring in more donations and new drop off locations.

Lynch is in communication with the Bastrop Christian Ministerial Alliance, which will help with the donations.

Displaced families are needing pillows, blankets, canned goods, toiletries and cash donations.

"It's absolutely devastating," Lynch said. "People are going back to having absolutely nothing."

Meanwhile, out in Edna, the Brackenridge Recreation Complex has opened its doors to evacuees and displaced families, said manager Cammie Pearson.

The complex has 88 stalls available, plus two indoor arenas and one outdoor arena and several pens and RV sites.

As of Tuesday night, the complex had not taken in any evacuees, Pearson said.

"When we were building the complex, we discussed becoming an evacuation site," Pearson said. "But it was more in relation to a hurricane evacuation. We never really thought about fires."

The complex manger also knows residents willing to help families, but the complex is ready to help if evacuees use the center.

"We're here if they need a place," she said. "There is a lot of people wanting to help."



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