September 7, 2011 – IAFF members from across the state of Texas, especially central Texas, are on the ground fighting a series of wildfires described by the Texas Fire Service as “historic” due to their magnitude. So far, more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed – at least three of which belong to IAFF members.
IAFF 11th District Vice President Sandy McGhee and Texas State Association of Fire Fighters President Guy Turner have been working hard to establish communications and assess membership needs.
“The process has been difficult,” says McGhee. “Most of our Texas members assigned to these fires have been in the field around the clock and have not had the opportunity to evaluate any damage to their own homes.”
He adds, “As we get a better idea of member needs, the IAFF will work to make sure those needs are met as quickly as possible.” Meanwhile, McGhee encourages any IAFF member who has been affected by these fires to complete an IAFF Disaster Relief form and return it to him.
More than 180 fires have erupted in the past week across the parched state. But the most serious blaze is in Bastrop County, just east of Austin. This one fire has burned more than 45 square miles and 600 homes.
At least 11 other fires exceeded 1,000 acres as of September 6, including an 8,000-acre blaze in Caldwell County, next to Bastrop County, with at least six homes lost. In Cass County, in far Northeast Texas, a 7,000-acre fire burned in heavy timberland. And in Grimes County, about 40 miles northwest of Houston, a 3,000-acre fire destroyed nearly two dozen homes and threatened hundreds more.
As winds left over from Tropical Storm Lee die down, fire fighters are now able to contain the destructive fires. However, there is no word on when full containment will be possible.