Complete coverage of Texas wildfires

Wildfires Leave Bastrop State Park a 'Moonscape'

The "Lost Pines" forest may have survived after the Ice Age, but it was ravaged by wildfires.

By MICHAEL GRACZYK
|  Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012  |  Updated 11:37 AM CDT
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Dramatic Photos: 2011 Texas Wildfires

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A reconnaissance plane flies over a burned area September 7, 2011 in Bastrop, Texas.

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Todd McClanahan's normally green world has turned black and gray.

He's superintendent of Bastrop State Park, one of the state's most popular parks, that was ravaged last month when wind-whipped wildfires scorched 50 square miles east of Austin.

The blazes destroyed more than 1,500 homes and torched large swaths of the park's signature "Lost Pines" forest.

Now instead of the lush green brush under a canopy of towering green pines, McClanahan says much of the 5,900-acre park has become a charred "moonscape," in some spots for as far as the eye can see.

The exact amount of wildfire losses is still being determined. McClanahan estimates about 70 percent of the trees were lost in the park that annually draws about 160,000 visitors.

More: Texas Parks & Wildlife - Bastrop State Park

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