Two fires started near Bastrop State Park in south central Texas in early September 2011, near Bastrop, Texas (pop. 8,000). Bastrop is 30 miles southeast of Austin, Texas, and the fires extend into the eastern edge of the community. The Union Chapel and Bastrop fires together are known as the Bastrop County Complex Fire. The Landsat images acquired on August 26 before the fires began, and again on September 11, show how the fire has scorched thousands of acres.
Severe drought conditions throughout much of the summer of 2011 have sparked many wildfires throughout Texas. 2011 has been reported to be the most severe single-year drought since the 1950s and received the lowest single-year rainfall since the late 1800s.
To date, more than 1,600 homes have been destroyed, making this wildfire the single most destructive in Texas history.
Landsat imagery is useful for monitoring the extent of the fires, as well as destroyed vegetation and subsequent effects to the human population. Future Landsat acquisitions will be used to monitor the recovery of the area.