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A new investigation reveals what sparked the Labor Day fire in Spicewood, outside of Austin, Texas.

Forged in Flames: A Special Report on the 2011 Labor Day Wildfires

Background

On Labor Day 2011, several fires broke out in Central Texas. Some would take weeks to put out. The fires took two lives and uprooted thousands of others. They burned more than 1,600 homes, leveled whole swaths of land, and caused firefighters, county officials and homeowners alike to rethink how they manage their land.

Forged in Flames is a special project by StateImpact Texas and KUT News to remember and investigate one of the biggest stories in Central Texas history. The project features several online reports, audio features, a one-hour documentary and and interactive website. Dozens of interviews were conducted for an oral history project. “Forged in Flames” tells the stories of the Bastrop, Steiner Ranch and Spicewood wildfires in the words of those who fought and those who survived the flames.

On Tuesday, September 4 at 3 p.m., KUT 90.5 FM will air a special one-hour documentary telling the story of the fires. It will air again Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. You can listen on air and we’ll also have the documentary available here for download.

The full interviews and related records of the “Forged in Flames” project will become part of the permanent collection at The University of Texas at Austin’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. As part of the Briscoe Center’s archival holdings, the project materials will be preserved and made accessible to researchers for a wide range of academic, professional and personal uses.

On Monday, Sept. 10, KUT will host a “Forged in Flames” community listening session and forum at 6 p.m. in Studio 1A at the KUT Public Media Studios at the northeast corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton in Austin.

Featured speakers will include Emily Donahue of KUT News and StateImpact Texas, Mose Buchele of StateImpact Texas and Erin Purdy of the Briscoe Center for American History. This forum is free and open to the public.

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