People living near Smithville fire are prepared to evacuate

Brush fire in Smithville
Brush fire in Smithville. (Tom Rapp/KXAN News)

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — They remember the 2011 Bastrop Fires like it was just yesterday.

Piper Smith and her family live on KLBJ Road and were warned they would have to get out if the fire got too close.

“So I called my husband and he said yea it’s blowing over our heads…was just right over,” said Smith. “It’s so fresh in my mind and there were so many people who lost so much.”

“If it’s gone then I have clothes, that’s it,” said Kathy Martin who was evacuated from her home.

Martin was at work and rushed home when she got word about the fire. She took a picture from her front door on Ann Powell Drive showing a dark cloud of smoke above her. It wasn’t long before the sheriff’s office told her she had to evacuate.

“It’s hard to even imagine you have to.  At least we had time to get things that can’t be replaced like pictures and metals from my sons track meets. That kind of stuff,” said Martin.

John McGinley is one of hundreds who lost his home in the 2011 Bastrop County wildfires. “This is not anything to that magnitude, thank God, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed and we’re packed and ready to go.” His next door neighbor Theresa Murphy had her SUV packed up just in case with important documents, Bibles and sentimental family keepsakes.

For Amy Pavone, leaving is becoming part of living. After 2011, she built a new house but all around her are the scars from the 2011 fires.

“2011 it was completely burned down. And now we’re leaving again. And our concern is all these trees,” said Pavone as she hurriedly packed items away in her car. “I’m making room for my dogs because I had a bunch of junk in my car.” As Pavone was packing, a neighbor pulled up in his truck to make sure she was ready to go. With her dogs in tow, Pavone isn’t leaving anything to chance. “I already grabbed my folder that has the blueprints for this house. So, if I had to build it, I’ll rebuild it.”

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