Local firefighters helping with fires in Texas Panhandle

Published: Mar. 22, 2018 at 6:34 PM CDT
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Fire departments from across the state have provided firefighters and fire engines that have been stationed throughout the Texas Panhandle and West Texas for response to wildfires that have burned near 52,000 acres this year.

The engines — brush trucks specifically designed to battle wildfires — are activated through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS), a statewide agreement that allows communities to call upon each other during times of need. Local agencies are reimbursed for all costs by the State of Texas.

“TIFMAS has deployed seven strike teams of engines with over 100 firefighters to the current fire danger event,” said Keith Kiplinger, TIFMAS state coordinator. “We currently have over 4000 certified wildland firefighters and over 5,000 total individuals, ready to respond.”

TIFMAS firefighters been deployed from Bryan and College Station Fire Departments.

They've also been deployed from the Abilene Fire Department, Arlington Fire Department, Austin Fire Department, Burkburnett Volunteer Fire Department, City of Galveston Fire Department, Coleman Fire Department, Coppell Fire Department, Denton Fire Department, Flower Mound Fire Department, Fort Worth Fire Department, Frisco Fire Department, Helotes Fire Department, Highland Village Fire Department, Kilgore Fire Department, Lake Travis Fire/Rescue, Leander Fire Department, Lewisville Fire Department, Longview Fire Department, Mission Fire Department, Montgomery County ESD #1, Montgomery County ESD #6, Mount Pleasant Fire Department, Nacogdoches Fire Department, Paris Fire Department, Parker County ESD #1, Pharr Fire Department, San Antonio Fire Department, Schertz Fire Department, Southlake Fire Department, Stephenville Fire Department, Vernon Fire Department, Weatherford Fire Department, Webster Fire Department, Weslaco Fire Department and Wichita Fall Fire Department.

“TIFMAS is a great example of Texans helping Texans,” Kiplinger said.

The largest TIFMAS deployment to date was the response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017 with 985 firefighters and 296 pieces of apparatus from 294 local fire departments across Texas.

Firefighters from TIFMAS, Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments all work together to combat wildfires in Texas.

TIFMAS is supported by Texas A&M Forest Service. The program includes grants, training and qualifications and mobilization systems to make statewide use of local resources. The program was first used during Hurricane Ike.