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Assessing the wildfire damage

This will be grim work.

A multiagency environmental response task force will soon issue a report assessing the environmental and ecological damage of the wildfires.

“It’s almost complete,” said Roxanne Hernandez, administrator for the county’s Lost Pines Habitat Conservation Plan , who expects the report to be finished by mid-November.

The task force is looking into issues of wildlife management, soil, erosion, water quality, reforestation and habitat, she said.

The early September wildfire’s initial damage to 35,000 acres is obvious — the pines at Bastrop State Park, for instance, will take 50 years to fully return — but the full scope of the damage is a wait-and-see proposition.

What’s really sad is that whatever the report recommends we do to mitigate the damage and hasten the recovery, I don’t have any faith that the state will do. And if federal action is needed, I don’t see Rick Perry generating any sympathy when he asks for it. I fear the damaged areas will just have to fix themselves.

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