AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry has activated Texas Military Forces (TMF) aircraft and personnel to assist state and local firefighting efforts in North Texas. Two CH-47 Chinook Helicopters with 1,600-gallon bambi buckets will be supporting the 14 local and volunteer fire departments that have been fighting multiple wildfires in Palo Pinto County.
“As wildfires rage, we will continue to support our communities and first responders with any state resources that are available,” Gov. Perry said. “Texas is thankful to the brave men and women who are battling these fires on the front lines in order to protect the homes and property of the people of Palo Pinto County.”
Two large fires are currently burning in Palo Pinto County. The Dark Valley Fire, located off of SH16 and FM254, has burned over 1,700 acres and the Rhodes Ranch II Fire, located around US180 and FM919, has burned over 1,600 acres. A third fire ignited in the area of Possum Kingdom Lake, but aircraft were quickly able to keep it from spreading any further. Crews will continue to work around the clock amidst high winds, dry conditions and rough terrain that have allowed the fires to spread quickly.
“Our focus, right now, is the protection of life and property as we support Judge Nicklas and his emergency response teams on the ground,” Texas Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd said. “We will continue to monitor the fire situation across the state and shift resources as conditions warrant.”
Several state agencies including the Texas Forest Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Transportation, have been actively engaged in suppression efforts since the onset of the fires.