THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

AG Paxton Files Lawsuit Against Business that Caused Bastrop Complex Fire

Friday, January 19, 2018 – Austin

Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a lawsuit accusing Asplundh Tree Expert Company of neglect in connection with the 2011 Bastrop Complex Fire. The vegetation management company, contracted by Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative (BEC), neglected to keep easements around local powerlines clear of trees and debris, which led to the disastrous fire. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department seeks over $1 million in damages for repairs, replanting and habitat mitigation in the Bastrop State Park.

Asplundh has a Storm Center that tracks weather patterns and oversees the deployment of Asplundh employees for emergency storm restoration. At a critical time, Asplundh inexplicably sidestepped the Storm Center and failed to send requested crews. Invoices and work orders show Asplundh previously failed to remove dead or dying trees, and the information provided to BEC was inadequate and inaccurate.

“Six years after the tragic fire, the Bastrop State Park is still living with the consequences of blatant neglect, and wildlife has decreased dramatically,” Attorney General Paxton said. “My office will not stand by and allow the party who could have prevented this destruction to shirk responsibility.”

The Bastrop Complex Fire burned across 32,400 acres for over a month in Bastrop County, killed two people and destroyed 1,696 residential and commercial structures. Documented sightings of the Houston toad and other native wildlife have dropped precipitously since the fire, which burned with enough intensity to kill most of the trees covering 91 percent of the 5,158 acres of pine and pine/oak woodlands in the Bastrop State Park. In the park, 96.5 percent of the total acreage was burned by fire.

To view the petition, click here: http://bit.ly/2EXqBXw