Two fire captains from the Paris Fire Department returned home after participating in the nearly 300-acre Indian Creek Fire near Childress, Texas.
“We protected a home on the Indian Creek Fire just west of Memphis, TX while working with local fire departments, the Texas Forest Service and some firefighting aircraft including we had,” PFD captain Matt Barbee said, referring to an incident while the two were deployed. “The operation of the house and ranch was saved with only some damage to some fences and utility poles. We met the residents a few days later at a store in Childress and they were very grateful and thankful that we were there.
Through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, PFD Capt. Drew Boren said the two helped the Texas Forest Service contain the fires and thoroughly clean up the roughly 285-acre blaze, which took about five hours to contain. Additionally, he said, there was an air strike to help stop the fire from spreading to a structure.
Above, a single-engine air tanker, mobilized by the Texas A&M Forest Service, drops a retarder on the Indian Creek Fire in Hall County on February 19, 2022.
Barbee said he knows when the state deploys TIFMAS resources, “It’s going to be for a good reason.”
“When we get there and start working with locals, you can tell they appreciate the extra help we provide in terms of manpower, resources and knowledge,” Barbee said. “It also gives local fire departments a break when they are overwhelmed by many fires, big and small.”
Boren said he was happy that the Paris firefighters were part of TIFMAS, “so that we can lend a hand, whether it’s a wildfire deployment or an all-hazards deployment in a natural disaster. In addition, the same help would be lent to Paris and our surrounding community if needed through TIFMAS.
Barbee said weather in the west can change drastically from day to day, “and even from hour to hour.”
“It can get much colder and windier,” he said. “With no trees to speak of and in open terrain, fires can spread much faster and cover a larger area than we are used to fighting here in East Texas.”
Boren said overnight the weather must have been around 36 degrees, however, temperatures hit 16 and they had to thaw their pump.
Barbee said he appreciates the TIFMAS deployment because they are able to work with firefighters from other Texas state departments.
“Some (firefighters) you know from previous assignments and some you meet and work with for the first time,” Barbee said, “but you always come away making new friends in the fire department. fire and gaining knowledge and experience.”
The Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris have been involved in TIFMAS at a training level since its inception in 2010. The service received a grant from them in 2012, which provided them with a type 6 engine – basic brush/grass truck. Paris firefighters have been actively involved in statewide mobilizations since receiving the grant in 2012.
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