Midland Fire Department prepared to battle wildfires

Midland Fire Department prepared to battle wildfires

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - With these deadly wildfires being so close to the Permian Basin, many are wondering if it could happen here and is the area ready?

We spoke to The Midland Fire Department (MFD) who said not only are we ready but they expect it to happen here.

Wind is the reason MFD said wildfires are possible in the Permian Basin.

"That's the biggest concern, it's the wind when we get a wildland fire in this area," said Midland Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief, Charles Blumenauer. "We don't have trees so it's normally a wide-open area and it can move rather rapidly. That was the big event in 2011 when we had really extremely high winds."

This time Midland is more prepared than in 2011. Two fire trucks allow the department to drive through and around very brushy areas. Midland fire joined the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS). Through that program, they were given a special fire truck. The truck carries more water than a standard one, has a longer hose and has specialized equipment to fight wildfires.

Firefighters in this program get trained annually but the training doesn't stop there.

"They come back and we'll do training on our shifts to train them for things that we do," said Blumenauer. "We do traditionally a little more aggressive attacks than the Forest Service does because we're trying to actually get to the front and head of fire as the wind is blowing to try and slow it down to stop it."

Blumenauer said Northeast and Greenwood Volunteer Fire Departments and Big Spring Fire Department are ready to assist Midland fire, if needed.

"Between the three of us we can control anything," said Blumenauer. "There are going to be times when they can potentially get out of hand intentionally but once we get to the scene and can get to the head of the fire, we'll be able to slow them down and eventually put them out."

MFD said we can't stop Mother Nature from starting a fire but we can help prevent it. Officials said to watch any chains you may have in your car, make sure they aren't hanging, don't throw cigarette butts out your car window and water any dry areas of grass.

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