Skip to comments.Feds to assume control of Bastrop Co. fire; TX volunteer firemen turned away
Posted on 09/06/2011 9:07:28 PM PDT by My Favorite Headache
BASTROP Firefighting-trained volunteers from around the state converged on Bastrop and Smithville Tuesday to lend a hand to the beleaguered local firefighters battling the Bastrop County Complex Fire only to be sent away as federal officials arrived at the scene and took command, apparently because local officials never made a formal request for volunteers.
We were at the station getting set up into strike teams, and this guy came up and said that the U.S. Forest Service had assumed control of the situation, and that If you dont have a vehicle that squirts water, go home, said Gordon Greer of Kirbyville, who drove all night Monday to arrive in the town beset by the worst wildfire in Texas history. Youve got guys who had driven all night long from Corpus Christi and Brownsville on their own dime, and they turned them away. He was really a (bleep) about it.
There was a whole line of beige cars that came in this morning, tinted windows and such, Greer said.
A spokesperson with the U.S. National Interagency Incident Center, Jennifer Jones, confirmed that federal group of several different agencies would be assuming command in Bastrop County around 1 p.m. Tuesday, but had not done so when the firefighting volunteers were told to leave. April Saginor with the Texas Forest Service said her agency had not given any such order, to her knowledge, but promised to provide an update later in the day.
The question is apparently one of protocol, however.
The Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management announced via its Facebook account Tuesday afternoon that Any fire mutual aid requests would always come through (and to) Local, State and National fire service and emergency leadership. This message sent as per Texas Fire Chiefs, TIFMAS, IAFC, USFA and FEMA. If you are a fire fighter wanting to volunteer you have to be activated by the National Forestry Service first.
The Texas Forest Service issued a statement Tuesday evening that it is not requesting firefighters/retired firefighters to report to Central Texas.
"If a person wants to fight fire they can: 1. Apply for a full-time Texas Forest Service position. We are not hiring seasonals as we currently do not have the time to hire, train and certify them. 2. Join a local fire department. 3. Members of local departments should not self-dispatch. Have your fire chief contact TIFMAS Coordinator Joe Florentino at firstname.lastname@example.org"
Several of the volunteers voiced their displeasure, however, at federal agents taking charge at the scene after appeals by Texas Gov. Rick Perry for federal aid following another series of wildfires earlier this year was turned down.
Theyre willing to sacrifice the lives of the people of Bastrop just so they can come in here and pull rank, said Daniel Miller of Nederland, who had led a group of Texas Nationalist Movement members who were certified firefighters to Bastrop from the Beaumont area. Miller said he and several other members of the group would remain in the Bastrop area to aid with civilian relief efforts.
FedGov ain't gonna do that, they are going to be stupid and assert control and watch it burn down.
I have very little to NO use for a feral gooberment. Waste of money, waste of time, and it just pisses me off. Better off to get rid of it.
Because when it comes to the Feds, it's all about the credentials.
And the fed, all being DC thieves themselves, assume anybody wanting to help must also be a thief who wants to loot the evacuated properties. Altruism has been completely bred out of their gene pool - the fed gene pool.
I am sure that the Joplin funds that were sent to the Hurricane Irene east coast will now be immediate re-re-diverted to central Texas.
I have a home North of that area. I know the people responding. They live there or close to Bastrop. These folks are doing their best to help their families, friends and neighbors. When the fire is out the “ people in charge” “now” will pack up and leave.
P.S. Glad you got your photo op. Will you be around next year if there is no fire? /SS
As a volunteer firefighter myself, it’s frustrating not getting called out to help when the fire is close but out of your district. OTOH, I don’t know what these guys hope to accomplish if they didn’t bring “Vehicles that squirt water.”
Fire scenes are very chaotic, and you need a good command and control sytem to plan and execute strategy and tactics.. Freelancers can be a danger to themselves and others, but I do think more effort should be made to accomodate them if they are trained and willing..
I watched helicopters dumping water on the recent Los Conchas fire here in NM. It was like watching an ant piss on a campfire. They don’t put a lot of fires out that way. they’re used more to help create a defensive perimeter, or put down a small hotspot before it gets out of control.
In our situation, we’re a bunch of mostly older guys (and women) but we’ve had a couple of lightning fires to deal with this year, with the drought. Believe me, when reinforcements show up, we’re more than happy to accommodate them. It is the hottest, nastiest work you can imagine. Love it, though...
Prayers up for Texas. Been there, done that.
And WTF are you talking about photo op? I don't let family take pictures of me and the grandkids...
Oh, you had a /s there. I'm not terribly sarcasmic. I just want the bullshit to stop. And as far as I can see, the federal government we established has outlived it's usefulness. No sarcasm involved there. Just plain unvarnished truth. I'll take my state gooberment over a feral one.
I’m a bit confused. Earlier this evening you indicated you wanted the FedGov to come here to Central Texas and help. Now, you indicate that you do not want the Feds here helping with the fires.
Which is it?
I don’t know of the credentials of those who volunteered but wildland fire fighting is very dangerous work and not for the untrained. Any incident commander who allowed unsolicited amateurs on a fire would be taking great risks with the lives of the volunteers, the public and the trained professional crews.
“Hello. I am from the federal government, and I am here to help you”.
Only Union government fire fighters are necessary Volunteers will only get in the way of overtime.
Uh-oh... Be careful what you wish for...
During the Hayman fire in CO the Feds’ interference did more to keep the fire burning due to their idiotic regulations (not allowing dozers to put in firebreaks, refusing to let people tend to their own structures at their own risk, etc...).
I’ll be praying EXTRA hard now for those in Texas dealing with these fires as dealing with the fire AND the bureaucratic BS is most likely going to compound this nightmare.
AMEN, Jeff! I witnessed the exact same thing in CO.
Theyre willing to sacrifice the lives of the people of Bastrop just so they can come in here and pull rank,
It’s a slap in the face, and a put down to Perry. It’s a political move typical of the Democrats Politics 24/7, they will use for campaigning in Texas next year.
The asshats never miss a chance to campaign for their purposes no matter who loses a home in a fire.
Well, this is what happens when you ask for Federal aid; the Feds will take charge of the situation...
My dad works for the USFS and is on a FEMA team...his own team is often frustrated by the red tape and gov’t ineptness, but they do their best. He got the activation call on Monday and flew to TX on the first plane.
The gov’t doesn’t take walk ins, you have to be on a fire team to fight the fire. They can’t take chances by sending out just anyone who walks in...that’s way too much to manage.
There’s such a thing called the Incident Command System that the feds use; during a disaster the ICS is drawn up showing who is in charge and how the fed and state agencies are supposed to work together. His team absolutely hates going to TX b/c people there are very unwilling to work with the system.
That's the best compliment for Texas that I've seen in a long time.
Yup, most Texan aren't sheep--we can think for ourselves.
Since these fires have been so hard to control, due to the heat, the drought, and the high winds I'm not sure anybody could have done a better job than was done.
Nope--we aren't too happy to have to deal with the feds--ever. This is one situation, though, that is hard too control. If the feds can get a handle on it, fine...but I doubt that they can do a lot more. There is just so much food to keep feeding these fires, and until they have devoured all or most of it, I don't think the fires will be put out completely.
I heard a couple days ago about this supposed call for any and all firefighters with experience to show up. It was on local news but did not name WHO was making the call.
Leave it to some jerk to cause trouble during this disaster.
The REAL story is of the wonderful PRIVATE citizens that are housing, feeding and providing anything they can to the fighters and the victims.
How about a story about THAT?
As the fire was closing in on one mans ranch he was beating a drum and his cattle came running to him.
A woman rounded up her goats, horses and pets, she was on the side of the road with her animals and a man stopped and offered one of his pens for her animals.
A minister and his fam (personal and church) were feeding thousands when they found out they lost their home.
Actually, the authorities are trying to locate some teens who are suspected to have started the blaze.
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