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 Post subject: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:28 am
Posts: 146
Location: Manjimup, West Australia
Our thoughts are with those Texas members as you face the disaster and hope that you are safe

Cheers Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:14 pm
Posts: 4855
Location: Greensboro, NC
best thoughts and prayers.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:19 pm
Posts: 181
Location: Center Point, Tx
No fires right now close to are house thank goodness. That wind got crazy last weekend. And we have had 3 or 4" of rain in the last year in my county. Its a desert here right now. My brother-in-law lives in Colorado county and has a friend that works at a park. They told him dont bother coming to work monday be cause its all gone, nothing but cement slabs. Come in tuesday and start clean up. We desperately need some rain soon in Texas. Its my understanding that if you are in the area of a fire, and you are able and willing to work to fight the fire. They will put you to work.


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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:28 am
Posts: 146
Location: Manjimup, West Australia
neon14 wrote:
Its my understanding that if you are in the area of a fire, and you are able and willing to work to fight the fire. They will put you to work.

I don't mind cliff rescue work but I leave fire for the Firies.

Glad your area is a safe one


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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:20 am
Posts: 374
Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
Where I'm from in South Australia if you turn up to a fire station wanting to volunteer during a major fire they will put you to work....making sandwiches. No place for a novice to learn the ropes during an extreme fire event!

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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:19 pm
Posts: 181
Location: Center Point, Tx
I heard a story about a non fire fighter getting handed a hose and told what to do, but that was an extreme situation. I would not feel comfortable with that, but I would make sandwiches or anything I was told to to do. I have no idea what it takes to fight a fire but I am sure there is something that I could do out of the danger zone to help support the fighters.

We got some rain the other day and things are better, but now a fire has popped up about 20 miles from my house. Its so dang dry here. They have this web sight showing all the fires in Texas right now. Its nothing what it looked like last week.

http://ticc.tamu.edu/Response/FireActivity/default.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:20 pm
Posts: 347
Location: Lorena,texas
We took all people wanting to volunteer during the fires, but not as Firefighters but as support crews. This summer was plenty dangerous even with training. We were spared the massive fires that ravaged North and South Central Texas, but we had plenty of large fires in Central Texas. We are still in a Historic drought so continued prayers for rain are appreciated. If we don't get our Winter and Spring rains I am afraid next Summer will be worse fire wise than this past Summer. Equipment and personal took a beating this year all across Texas. In my small Department alone in the month of August we went through 40 cases of bottled water, 20 cases of Gatorade and over 1000 pounds of ice.
The citizens of Texas really stepped forward in support of their local Fire Department this year. I can't count the number of times I would see people dropping off coolers full ice and drinks to the Incident Command posts. Or when we would go to the station for maintenance on the trucks and there would be a case or two of water by the door.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:20 pm
Posts: 347
Location: Lorena,texas
This is a great commentary on Texas folks vs Big govt.

Here are some stories about the Tricounty fire in Montgomery, Grimes, and Waller County.

My neighbor across the road has a sister named Kenna. Memorial Day, when she saw the huge column of smoke over our homes, she left a birthday party at my neighbor’s house to meet with her friend Tara at the Baseball complex in Magnolia. She called the owner of the complex and got permission to use the warehouse there as a staging area for donations for the fire fighting effort.

They put a notice out on facebook that they were going to be taking donations on their facebook pages. That night as they were setting up tables and organizing, News 2 Houston came by and saw the activity, investigated and left with the phone numbers and a list of suggested donations.

The facebook notice propagated faster than the fire. By dawn they had 20 volunteers, bins, forklifts, and donations were pouring in. I stopped by with my pitiful little bags of nasal wash and eye wash, and was amazed. There must have been 20 trucks in the lot, offloading cases of water, pallets of Gatorade , and people lined up out the door with sacks of beef jerky, baby wipes, underwear, socks, and you name it. School buses and trailers from many counties around were there offloading supplies, students froming living chains to pass stuff into the bins for transport to the command center and staging areas. If the firefighters had requested it, it was there. What do you give the guy out there fighting the fire that might engulf your home? Anything he or she wants. Including chewing tobacco and cigarettes.

Kenna moved on to the Unified Command Post at Magnolia West High school . She looked at what the fire fighters needed, and she made calls and set it up.

Mattress Mac donated 150 beds. Two class rooms turned into barracks kept quiet and dark for rest. The CEO of HEB donated 2 semi trailers full of supplies, and sent a mobile commercial kitchen at no charge to feed all the workers, but especially our firefighters, 3 hot meals a day. An impromptu commissary was set up, anything the firefighters had requested available at no charge.

As exhausted firefighters (most of them from local VFDs with no training or experience battling wildfires) and workers came into the school after long hours of hard labor, dehydrated, hungry, covered with soot and ash, they got what they needed. They were directed through the commissary, where they got soap, eye wash and nasal spray, candy, clean socks and underwear, and then were sent off to the school locker rooms for a shower. HEB then fed them a hot meal and they got 8 hours sleep in a barracks, then another hot meal, another pass through the commissary for supplies to carry with them out to lines, including gloves, safety glasses, dust masks and snacks, and back they went.

One of the imported crew from California came into Unified Command and asked where the FEMA Powerbars and water were. He was escorted to the commissary and started through the system. He was flabbergasted. He said FEMA never did it like this. Kenna replied, ”Well, this is the way we do it in Texas.”

Fire fighting equipment needed repair? The auto shop at the High School ran 24/7 with local mechanics volunteering, students, and the firefighters fixing the equipment.

Down one side of the school, the water tankers lined up at the fire hydrants and filled with water. Down the other side there was a steady parade of gasoline tankers filling trucks, dozers, tankers, cans, chain saws, and vehicles.

Mind you, all of this was set up by 2 Moms, Kenna and Tara, with a staff of 20 simple volunteers, most of them women who had sons, daughters, husbands, and friends on the fire lines. Someone always knew someone who could get what they needed- beds, mechanics, food, space. Local people using local connections to mobilize local resources made this happen. No government aid. No Trained Expert.

At one point the fire was less than a mile from the school, and everyone but hose volunteers were evacuated. The fire was turned.

The Red Cross came in, looked at what they were doing, and quietly went away to set up a fire victim relief center nearby. They said they couldn’t do it any better.

FEMA came in and told those volunteers and Kenna that they had to leave, FEMA was here now. Kenna told them she worked for the firefighters, not them. They were obnoxious, bossy, got in the way, and criticized everything. The volunteers refused to back down and kept doing their job, and doing it well. Next FEMA said the HEB supplies and kitchen had to go, that was blatant commercialism. Kenna said they stayed. They stayed. FEMA threw a wall eyed fit about chewing tobacco and cigarettes being available in the commissary area. Kenna told them the firefighters had requested it, and it was staying. It stayed. FEMA got very nasty and kept asking what organization these volunteers belonged to- and all the volunteers told them “Our community”. FEMA didn’t like that and demanded they make up a name for themselves. One mother remarked “They got me at my boiling point!” and suddenly the group was “212 Degrees”. FEMA’s contribution? They came in the next day with red shirts embroidered with “212 Degrees”, insisting the volunteers had to be identified, never realizing it was a slap in their face. Your tax dollars at work- labeling volunteers with useless shirts and getting in the way.

The upshot? A fire that the experts from California (for whom we are so grateful there are no words) said would take 2-3 weeks to get under control was 100% contained in 8 days. There was so much equipment and supplies donated, 3 container trucks are loaded with the excess to go and set up a similar relief center for the fire fighters in Bastrop. The local relief agencies have asked people to stop bringing in donations of clothing, food, household items, and pretty much everything else because they only have 60 displaced households to care for, and there is enough to supply hundreds. Again, excess is going to be shipped to Bastrop, where there are 1500 displaced households. Wish we could send Kenna, too, but she has to go back to her regular job.

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Darrell Sykora


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 Post subject: Re: Texas Fires
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:56 pm
Posts: 205
Location: South Coast NSW Australia
Wow! With all the stories of gloom and doom, isnt it great to hear of the wonderful way people rally together in times of hardship and so willingly sacrefice themselves at a time of community need. Your story is of a wonderful person and a team of marvellous volunteers.

Having lived in an extreme bushfire (wildfire ) area in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney for over twenty years , we have experienced similar situations ourselves and will always admire the dedication of the volunteers who have come to our aid. When the last major fire from came roaring up towards our house, within minutes, tankers arrived from units who had travelled from all over the country. While the volunteers were doing there job, I was busy hosing down my house and Tom's house next door, while Tom was across the road hosing down Yvonne's house and her elderly nieghbours house. Our house was saved only because of the dedication of those who give up there time and effort in order to help other people and without reward.

I hope your drought breakes shortly and our prayers are with you.

Roger

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