BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) - Despite efforts to rebuild, move on, and rise from the ashes, many people forced out of their homes after wildfires tore through their neighborhoods still haven't returned.
Patti Barrentine has been living at the Tahitian Village in Bastrop for 14 years, but two years after the fire she says it's time to move on.
"I loved living here, it's beautiful, it was beautiful," she said with a smile. "But when the fire came through...there's nothing left. I look at destruction every day."
Barrentine moved here because of the beautiful pine trees and had good friends who lost their homes. Now, both are gone.
"I don't think anyone is emotionally where they were that day, I don't think they've recovered," Barrington said. "People I've talked to aren't coming back."
Now, she too plans to move away.
While some have rebuilt, concrete slabs are all that remain on numerous lots. Part of the reason some owners aren't rebuilding is purely financial.
"Some people had insurance, most people were underinsured, and then there were a few that had no insurance at all," said Janice Butler from the Bastrop Recovery Team. "It's really the people that were underinsured that had the hardest time."
But Mike Fisher, Bastrop's Emergency Management Coordinator, says residents have to forget the past and push to rebuild as many of the 1,700 homes that were lost, whatever the cost.
"Let's learn some ways to put our community back in a much safer way," Fisher said. "If we can do that, and we can learn from that, I think we can have a lot more positive attitude as we rebuild our community."
It's a challenge still too difficult to take on for many.
Bastrop County will be holding a Firewise workshop Sept. 7, at 8:30 a.m. at LCRA's McKinney Roughs on Highway 71 east of Bastrop. There will be information about building Firewise homes, strategic tree planting information and ways to build safer surroundings.
The Bastrop County Long Term Recovery team will also host a picnic at the park with food and entertainers Sept. 1 at Fishermen's Park starting at 11 a.m.
One woman died early Wednesday after several shots were fired at a North Austin mechanic shop.
The Texas Department of Public Safety along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement agency and local authorities raided what they said Wednesday was a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
UPDATE // The two teenage girls missing since Saturday night were found safe at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Leander police said.
FEMA teams will be back in Southeast Austin to assess damage to public property like roads, bridges, and parks.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, a 2014 Democratic candidate for Texas governor, released her tax returns for the past three years.
A 13-year-old girl was kidnapped from Flatonia School and released about an hour later on Monday, but authorities are still looking for the kidnapper.