Mutual aid agreements provide extra help for West Texas fire crews

Mutual aid agreements provide extra help for West Texas fire crews

(KCBD) - Area fire crews are ready to jump into action as extreme fire danger continues across West Texas, and they are not alone.

A program called mutual aid, staffed by the Texas A&M Forest Service and other Texas fire departments, is proving much-needed help during these critical weather days.

"Most fire departments around this part of the country have mutual aid agreements with each other," Texas A&M Forest Service Task Force Coordinator Keith Lammons said, "If they have a fire they come help each other, we have the same thing, we work with volunteers and if they run out of resources and people, we help them."

The program is run through the Texas Interstate Fire Mutual Aid System. It designates crews to help departments that need extra help. Crews come to the rescue with six engines and stay in the area for a minimum of seven days.

The West Carlisle Fire Department also uses a similar program.

"Any structure fires or if an outside fire occurs on days when winds are sustained greater than 20 miles per hour, LSO dispatches fire departments to every fire," West Carlisle Fire Chief Tim Smith said. "That brings enough resources and gets everyone moving that way in case the fire gets bigger before the primary fire department can extinguish it."

West Texas fire crews can also be called to other parts of Texas as a part of the mutual aid program. Crews say this program has been very helpful.

"As far other towns, we will go anywhere," Chief Smith said. "Our fire departments have been 90 miles east of Amarillo in 2005 to help fire departments out there with a million acres wild fire, its just whatever the folks need they'll come help us, we will go help them and all it takes is a phone call its pretty amazing."

These firefighters want to remind everyone, if you see any sign of a fire starting, call 911 immediately.

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