A Denton County fire department has a new weapon to battle wildland fires. Flower Mound is believed to be the first municipality in Texas using a trained bulldozer crew to beef up it's resources during what's been an active fire season.
In his job with the Flower Mound Public Works street crew, Kyle Spinney has some big responsibility.
“I just like running the equipment," said Spinney, of the bulldozer he uses during his daily jobs.
What started as a kid with small toys, is now a career, running big ones. But one thing Spinney never thought he would be was a firefighter.
“I didn't think it would happen,” he said. “And it really came on fast."
Spinney is also part of the Flower Mound Fire Department's dozer crew - the first municipal fire crew of it is kind in Texas. He and another bulldozer operator received training to assist in firefighting efforts – by opening up access to fires and helping to contain them.
“Access is a huge challenge on some of these wildland fires,” said Brandon Barth, Flower Mound Emergency Operations officer. “Lack of entrance points, roads, topography."
The idea was sparked following a 300-acre wildland fire near Route 377 in the town in January. Dozer crews assisted in putting out a fire in a hard-to-reach spot along Grapevine Lake last weekend.
“A bulldozer can put a containment line around a fire a lot quicker than a group of firefighters can dig a hand line,” said firefighter Brody Eakin, who manages the dozer crews during firefighting efforts.
Typically, Flower Mound and other Denton County fire departments would rely on dozer crews from Texas Wildlife. But during wildland fire season those crews can be scattered around the state.
“Having this resource locally available, you can get to a scene quickly,” said Barth.
For Spinney, it is a different job than he was used to - one he is glad to be a part of.
“I like it,” he said. “It’s the adrenaline, fighting the fire, and helping people."