SAN ANGELO, Texas — Tuesday morning, a team of seven San Angelo Fire Department firefighters were sent to Crockett County to help contain and put out a wildfire.
SAFD Assistant Chief of Operations Johnny Fisher gave on update on the wildfire, as of Wednesday morning.
“There is probably still 19,000 acres, still maybe 10 percent contained," Fisher said.
According to Fisher, this is the second time the SAFD has been called upon to help fight a fire. The first time were the California wildfires more than a year ago. Fisher loves the experience it gives San Angelo firefighters.
"One of the big things is just getting to work with all the different departments and seeing that side of the command that we don’t see a lot of here in the city," Fisher said.
Many of the fires Fisher and his firefighters see in the City of San Angelo are construction fires, and he said there is big difference between a wildfire and construction fire.
"A construction can fire last anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, and wildfire can last up to two weeks," Fisher said.
The tactics are different as well when comes to containing and putting out the fires. A construction fire requires spraying it down with water to make sure it does not spread from one building to another. Wildfires are different because they have to first focus on containing the fire by making a firebreak, which is a gap in vegetation or other combustible materials, that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress. Next, they will do a back burn, which helps put out a fire by setting the brush and other flammable materials on fire, and putting it out make sure the wildfire does not have much fuel to spread.
They must also be conservative with water, because they are out in the middle of a field and pumps are scarce. There are plans to drop retardant from a plane to put out the flames.
Fisher said there are few things a firefighter must do in order to be part of a wildfire team.
"They need wild land certification. You have to have S-130 S-190 certifications and just some extra training," Fisher said.
These certifications makes sure the firefighter understands the ability to demonstrate that they understand hazard mitigation measures, planning and preparedness strategies.
Fisher still does not know how the fire started, but because we are in dry weather it can be the smallest things which can lead to a fire.
"It can be someone working on the fence," Fisher said. "We've had some from people pulling trailers and dragging a chain and a spark off the chain goes into the dry brush there are numerous of ways."
Fisher was happy to report that so far no injures have been reported, nor has there been damage to any of the surrounding areas.
He will continue to give updates as he receives them from his team.