From the Texas A&M Forest Service
COLLEGE STATION, TX (News Release) - Some 200 firefighters in 50 engines from 47 Texas fire departments in 23 counties will head to California to help fight three major wildfires that have taken at least 29 lives, destroyed more than 6,700 structures and prompted evacuations for about 250,000 Californians.
“When the call came into Texas this summer to aid our California neighbors, Texas A&M Forest Service and TIFMAS were able to render aid. Nearly 100 Texas firefighters were of service. This is what mutual aid is all about and, here in Texas, we do it well so California asked the Texans to come back and help out again,” said Tom Boggus, Texas A&M Forest Service director.
On Saturday, California emergency officials contacted the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TEDM) who then called Texas A&M Forest Service to request help via the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) program. TIFMAS is the fire and rescue framework that provides wildfire incident support. Texas A&M Forest Service helps coordinate wildland fire suppression efforts throughout Texas with local fire departments.
“This is another solid example of Texas firefighters stepping up to help out. This is the largest mobilization of Texas firefighting resources to another state to fight wildland fires,” said Mark Stanford, fire chief and associate director at Texas A&M Forest Service. “TFS will send five engines but a majority of the personnel and engines are coming from municipal fire departments all across Texas.”
Texas counties that are mobilizing resources include: Bexar, Brazos, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gregg, Harris, Hays, Hutchinson, Lamar, Montgomery, Parker, Potter, Somervell, Tarrant, Taylor, Tom Green, Travis, Walker, Wichita and Williamson.
Nacogdoches Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger, who is also the TIFMAS state coordinator, said that these out-of-state assignments allow municipal firefighters to gain valuable experience that may not occur in their daily firefighting duties.
“The training and experience that our firefighters receive will better enable us to serve Texans at home,” said Kiplinger. “We are rotating these assignments among various departments around the state to give as many firefighters additional experience.”
A total of 27 Texas A&M Forest Service personnel, a strike team and five fire engines from Brownwood, Childress, Smithville, Mineral Wells, and Wolforth left today. Texas fire departments that are mobilizing personnel and engines include:
- Abilene Fire Department
- Amarillo Fire Department
- Austin Fire Department
- Baytown Fire Department
- Bexar County D-7
- Bexar County ESD-8 (Grey Forest)
- Borger Fire Department
- Bryan Fire Department
- City of Galveston Fire Department
- City of Midland Fire Department
- Conroe Fire Department
- Dallas Fire & Rescue
- District 7 Fire Rescue
- Eastex Fire Department
- Flower Mound Fire Department
- Forest Bend Fire Department
- Frisco Fire Department
- Fulshear Fire Department
- Kyle Fire Department
- Lake Travis Fire Rescue
- Lewisville Fire Department
- Little Elm Fire Department
- Longview Fire Department
- McKinney Fire Department
- Needham Fire Department
- New Waverly Volunteer Fire Department
- North Montgomery County ESD-1
- Oak Hill Fire Department
- Paris Fire Department
- Parker County ESD-6
- Plano Fire Rescue
- Porter Fire Department
- Powderly Volunteer Fire Department
- Prosper Fire Department
- Round Rock Fire Department
- San Angelo Fire Department
- Schertz Fire Rescue
- Somervell Fire Department
- Travis County ESD-3
- Weatherford Fire Department
- Webster Fire Department
- Westlake Fire Department
- Wichita Falls Volunteer Fire Department
TIFMAS and TFS firefighters are not yet specifically assigned to a location in California. They will be among thousands of personnel providing assistance on the following incidents:
- The 113,000-acre Camp Fire in Butte County that caused 29 fatalities, destroyed 6,453 residences and 260 commercial structures. It is about 25 percent contained.
- The 91,572-acre Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties that caused two fatalities, three firefighter injuries and destroyed 372 structures. It is about 20 percent contained.
- The 4,531-acre Hill Fire in Ventura County that destroyed two structures and is nearly 80 percent contained.