Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Is Texas Burning?

There is a saying here in the Lone Star State: "If you don't like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes."

It seems like five minutes ago we were fighting Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Hurricane season is over, but mother nature is still in the fight. Drought and weather have given us a one-two punch of perfect conditions for fires. Last week the small city of Cross Plains burned. And there have been multiple fires throughout the State.

From the latest Texas Division of Emergency Management Situation Report:

The State of Texas in the last 24-hour period responded to 20 fires statewide. 26 homes were lost and 8 homes were saved. Texas aircraft flew 659 missions dropping in excess of 806,780 gallons of fire retardant. Since December 26th, there have been 159 fires burning approximately 254,555 acres. For the same period, there have been 238 homes lost (reduced from 278 previously reported due to more detailed investigation of damaged areas) and 250 homes saved.

Texas is currently mounting a massive response
with Local, State, and Federal Resources.

Local governments are also in action declaring disasters,
burn bans, and banning New Years fireworks.

Coordinating this massive effort is the best little agency you never heard of, The Texas Forest Service. The service only has about 350 employees but is a massive force multiplier in any emergency response. Click around their website and you'll be impressed.

Oh and by the way, if you're a smoker who feels compelled to throw your cigarette butts out the car window, you're the dumbest kind of dumb ass. You start fires and put lots of people at risk. One county in Texas had a volunteer firefighter severely burned putting out one of these fires. He's spending the New Year in the burn unit at Brooks Army Medical Center.


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