Housing Shortage Prompts Texas Forest Service to Leave Midland 4/17/13
CBS 7 news
April 17, 2013
The sounds, the sights, and the loss are all too familiar to west Texans.
City and county fire officials along with volunteer firefighters worked day and night in the battle against the wildfires of 2011.
But once resources were exhausted The Texas Forest Service stepped in to help.
The Forest Service used county's former Midland County Exhibit Building for an office as the wildfires required more of their presence.
The location included a bulldozer crew, motor grader, task force leader and fire prevention specialist.
"This is a real win for us," Jimmy Smith, commissioner for precinct 1 said to the Midland Reporter in December of 2011.
“Once they got here they could put in fire lines ahead of the fires to keep them from spreading,” said Midland County Fire Marshal Dale Little who remembers those days. He's concerned that it could happen again.
“So far we've been real lucky we don't have any big fires,” Little said.
The TFS says although there were plans to make the Permian Basin a permanent home it was simply too hard to find actual homes for their employees in this booming economy. The number of fires also significantly decreased with in the past two years.
Now there is just a bare lot where their much-needed equipment used to be.
Little says if a major fire breaks out the state agency would have to come from Fort Davis or San Angelo, at least four hours in travel time.
He says there are plenty of resources here to hold the fires off until backup arrives.
“They are needed when you have a fire moving that fast,” Little said, “But we would still use the assets that we have.”
Little says a newly hired assistant chief for the Texas Forest Service will come to Midland in a few weeks. That person will then decide what kind of equipment is needed to assist our area.