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Tahitian Village still feeling effects of Bastrop County Complex fire

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TWC News: Tahitian Village still feeling effects of Bastrop County Complex fire
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It's been nearly a year since the most destructive wildfire in Texas history tore through Bastrop County.

Tahitian Village in Bastrop was one area hit hard by the fire. While the grass seems greener, there are still reminders of last September's fire everywhere you look.

"When you see all of the burnt trees, it kind of reminds you what can happen and what did happen,” Tahitian Village resident Brad Bowen said. “I have friends that have said they don't want to come back because of the bad memories."

Bowen's home survived the blaze, but he still has vivid memories of September 4th, the day several wildfires across Central Texas ignited.

"I was just leaving my house to get some dessert for the family and I saw a cloud and I thought ‘Oh rain,’" Bowen said.

It didn't take long for him to realize what the "cloud" meant.

Pamnella and Tinsley Meadows saw the smoke, too. They only had minutes to react.

"We didn't see any flames, but we knew we had to get out of there," Tinsley said.

Their home just east of Bastrop was destroyed. They've since moved into Tahitian Village to a home which survived the fire. But the home next door is just now being rebuilt.

"It would be a hard decision to build in such a disaster because you're coming back to burnt trees, your neighbors are gone and then you don't know if you'll be able to sell if you do rebuild," Bowen said.

The Meadows decided not to rebuild their home and now they're considering leaving Bastrop altogether.

"We came back because this is home, but it doesn't feel that way anymore,” Pamnella said.

Even with all the loss and pain the fire caused, there were and still are positive things happening.

"It was a terrible thing that happened,” Bowen said. “But it sure pulled the community together. You can tell just by talking to people and just see it in their eyes that they really do want Bastrop to thrive again just like it did once before."

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