Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Kentucky firefighters continue to assist with Texas wildfires
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2006) - A second strike team of 11 firefighters from the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) is heading to Texas to help battle wildfires scorching sections of the Southwest.
The group replaces an 11-person team that is returning Wednesday after two weeks of duty in north central Texas. The first strike team recently battled a 2,500-acre fire and helped save 62 homes. Pumper trucks that were sent with the first strike team will be used by the replacement team.
The Texas Forest Service asked KDF for more firefighters over the weekend. The Kentuckians are assigned to the north central Texas initial attack area, which is responsible for protecting 200,000 acres. They are expected to stay 14 days, plus travel time.
Wildfires are burning in several areas of the Southwest. Depletion of local and state firefighting resources, and no prospect of weather relief, led the Texas Forest Service to ask for help.
KDF Director and Kentucky State Forester Leah MacSwords said, "We are fortunate that wildland fire conditions in Kentucky have improved, which allowed us to provide these resources. I know when we need firefighting assistance that Texas will answer our call for help."
Kentucky is part of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Compact, which gives states a means of sharing wildland firefighters and equipment. Member states agree to help each other, to maintain a dialogue about wildfire threats and to make equipment and personnel available on short notice. Texas will reimburse Kentucky for the KDF firefighters’ time and expenses.