Firefighters in Jeff Davis County Slowing Fires Before They Start

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY - Slowing a wildfire before it even begins. That's what firefighters in Jeff Davis County are doing during the next few weeks.

After three major wildfires in the last two years, the Texas A&M Forest Service is getting a jump start on what's likely to be an active fire season this year.

"It's good to see them without fire on the horizon," resident, Jeff Smith said.

Smith has lived in the Davis Mountain Resort for 12 years now.

He's seen flames that were close for comfort.

"We're all definitely concerned and aware of the threat," Smith said.

Phillip Truitt with the Forest Service said over the next few weeks firefighters will be strategically creating fire breaks in the DMR.

"We take the lighter fuels which are the medium size, smaller fuels in between the grass and the tops of the trees," Truitt said. "When you have a wildfire, it drops the fire out of the crowns or out of the tops of the trees onto the surface of the ground and makes it a lot easier for the firefighters to fight and it makes it easier for residents to evacuate if there was a fire here."

Getting rid of thick, dry brush will help firefighters save time in an emergency situation. Crews will cover about 16 acres all over the DMR within the next three weeks.

Truitt said in area that's no stranger to wildfires, this will help tremendously.

"Makes it a lot more probable that we're gonna be able to save folks and their property," Truitt said.

And that has Smith a little more at ease.

"Encouraging to know that these people haven't forgotten about us now and when they come back for a fire, we'll all be a little better prepared," Smith said.