Cutting Red Tape Between Agencies To Fight Wildfires

The wildfires of the last couple years brought attention to a problem for the Texas Forest Service when it came to fighting fires on military bases. Miles of red tape have now been cleared up to make the process more simple.

The Texas Forest Service and Fort Hood have signed an agreement to communicate directly when wildfires are in the area.

This might seem like an obvious plan, but communication was an issue when 19,000 acres burned at Fort Hood during the 2011 wildfire season.

Texas Forest Service Spokesperson April Saginor says they had to go through three other agencies before they could communicate with the military base.

“Because they’re a military base, we had to go through a different process. Typically if a volunteer fire department needs aircraft or other sort of firefighting resources, dozers and things like that, that we have, they can just give a call to our agency and we can respond. With Fort Hood, because of the military involvement, it had to go through several other agencies and now we’re able to just communicate with them directly.”

The new agreement also allows the forest service to stage equipment at Fort Hood and conduct training there.

“They’ve got rounds of ammunition on the ground and things like that. So when there’s a fire there are additional concerns maybe that you wouldn’t think of if you’re just out in the wild land. So they’ve got — there’s an element of danger that exists simply because it’s on a military base.”

The forest service will also be able to directly request assistance from Fort Hood when fires are in the nearby area.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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