Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Kentucky firefighters assist with Texas wildfires
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 3, 2006) - A strike team of 11 firefighters and five pumper trucks from the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) has been sent to Texas to help combat the wildfires scorching vast sections of the Southwest.
The Texas Forest Service asked for KDF assistance over the weekend. The Kentucky team arrived in Grandbury, Texas, on Monday. Team members are assigned to the north central Texas initial attack area, which is responsible for providing fire protection to 200,000 acres. They are expected to stay 14 days, plus travel time.
Wildfires are burning out of control in parched areas of Texas and Oklahoma. Depletion of local and state firefighting resources and a long-term weather forecast showing no relief in sight prompted 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."
Kentucky is part of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Compact, which provides firefighting assistance to member states in times of need. The compact establishes a legal means for states to share skilled wildland firefighters and equipment. Member states agree to help each other to the extent possible, to maintain a dialogue about wildfire threats and to make plans for equipment and personnel to be available on short notice.
Texas will reimburse Kentucky for the KDF firefighters’ time, expenses and use of equipment.