Incident Response Team Leaving Midland

by Anayeli Ruiz 
NewsWest 9

Fires have been breaking out all over the Lone Star State for the last seven months. The blazes were so intense the Texas Forest Service had to call in some help from the incident management teams.

They even set up an office here in Midland. Now the teams are leaving, but the fire season is not over. NewsWest9 got to visit with the team and they told us what's going to happen the next time a blaze roars in to town.

On April 10, the incident management team arrived in Midland to help out with the fires breaking out all over West Texas. This was one of many teams across the U.S. that was called in by the Texas Forest Service to help battle the grassfires.

"We support the local firefighters and the Texas Forest Service. We go and we take resources when requested by local firefighting or emergency management folks in the county. That request then goes to Texas Forest Service and we respond with resources," Mark Morales, with the Incident Response Team, said..

Later this week, the team is expected to leave after more than a month of battling the blazes in West Texas.

"Hopefully we have provided the Texas Forest Service a little bit of relief giving them a chance to regroup and giving some of their folks a chance to get rested and now they will be taking over management of the fires as they were doing before the fires," Morales said.

So what's going to happen to the resources like bulldozers and firefighters?

"There will still be resources. Engines and dozer crews are still available just like they were when we were here. Although our team is leaving, the resources aren't," Morales said.

Even though fire season isn't over, the Texas Forest will now start to manage fires using their resources in Midland, Fort Stockton, Alpine and San Angelo.

"We still have a couple tough months in front of us. Looking at the historical records and knowing that historically West Texas dry, lightning season is coming that's going to be the next point of concern," Morales said.

The team is scheduled to leave at the end of this week.  Since their arrival, they have spent more than $8 million dollars in West Texas for lodging meals, vehicle rentals and supplies.