Fire Threat Has Crews Ready to Respond - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Fire Threat Has Crews Ready to Respond

Fort Worth Fire Brought in Extra Personnel on Monday



    Firefighters across Tarrant Count stood at their highest levels Monday. (Published Monday, Sept. 5, 2011)

    No rest for firefighters across Texas on Labor Day as the critical fire threat had them on duty and on stand by.

    The Fort Worth Fire Department brought in 15 extra people to respond to any brush fires that broke out across the city. On Sunday crews battled 31 small grass or brush fires, with only one requiring several units.

    On Monday Fort Worth Fire put out 11 fires between midnight and noon, but none of those were major incidents.

    Winds held steady throughout the day between 15 and 20 mph, gusting to as high as 30, and humidity levels were around 20-percent in the afternoon. Those conditions, even with lower temperatures in the mid-80's, led to Red Flag Warnings across Texas and to have those crews ready to respond.

    "Even with the cooler temperatures there's still that potential for the fires," said Fort Worth Fire Division Chief Bobby Tatum. "You have the wind, humidity and those conditions mixed together gives a potential for a fire."

    The point of bringing in the extra personnel, to only operate the brush trucks from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., was to prevent a minor fire from exploding into something bigger.

    "Having that brush unit, having it staffed, having a quick response allows us to get on scene and reduce the potential for it spreading," Tatum said.

    Fire crews across Tarrant County are on their highest levels, especially with most of the state's resources down near Austin.

    "With everything being number one priority near Bastrop it will probably be an hour to get an air drop if the wind will cooperate," said Tarrant County Fire Marshal Randy Renois.

    While air drops have thankfully not been needed here so far, with the focus on Bastrop strike team assistance from Tarrant County will be limited.

    "Resources from the forest service makes it a little critical, we might just end of sending one on request," Renois said.

    One fire task force from Tarrant County left the Northeast Mall in Hurst around 5:30 p.m. Monday night. Another Tarrant County fire task force was due to return from the Possum Kingdom Lake fires on Monday as well. Renois says given the lack of resources in North Texas, less resources from this area will go to assist.

    But while through the late afternoon there have been no major brush fires in the county doesn't mean Labor Day revelers should let their guard down in the evening hours, especially around barbeques.

    "You just want to be real observant of the things around you with the weather conditions the way they are today," Renois said.