Dyess, area fire departments work together to suppress 3-day Camp Barkeley fire
By Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 01, 2014
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Dyess Fire Department and other Big Country fire departments joined forces to contain a 1,600 acre wildfire that sparked April 27, at Camp Barkeley near Buffalo Gap.
The fire, termed the Camp Barkeley Fire, was reported at approximately 3 p.m. Through a mutual aid agreement, seven Dyess firefighters and numerous firefighters from the surrounding Big Country region responded to the blaze.
"This is probably the biggest wildfire in Taylor County in three years in which the base responded to through a mutual aid request," said Reed Tate, Dyess AFB chief of fire training.
Dyess arrived on scene in about 45 minutes. They arrived with two brush trucks used to help control the fire. Once on scene, Dyess firefighters received their assignment and secured the perimeter of the fire. It was then that they discovered multiple fires in the area.
"Our assignment was to help contain the fire within the lines," said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Stuart, Dyess AFB fire chief. "We kept a perimeter on the fire to make sure no new ones would break out."
The high winds added to the Camp Barkeley Fire's strength with wind gusts reaching more than 50 miles per hour. Homes were also evacuated for safety precautions through parts of Buffalo Gap, which is approximately 15 miles south of Dyess AFB.
"We have people who live around this area, so the fire could affect them," Stuart said. "Everything from roads being shut down to possibly evacuating the homes in Buffalo Gap could affect Dyess."
Dyess fire crews went back to the scene April 28, to continue containing the fire. They hit "hot spots" where fuel, heat and oxygen can create a new fire.
"We continued containing the fire to make sure it didn't spread," Stuart said. "We had to cut down a tree and extinguish areas where a new fire could start."
Currently the fire is in its third day, and the cause of the flames is still unknown and undetermined. So far, no report has been received of any injuries from the fire.
Helping contribute to the mission, many of the firefighters on scene were volunteers.
"They gave up their day to fight this fire, so it's a pretty big deal." Stuart said. "It shows their commitment and desire to want to serve their community."
The site of several fire trucks with different department logos showed teamwork and community partnership, Stuart said.
"It's great the surrounding areas can get together to help keep our community safe from the fire," Stuart said. "We all rely on each other because no one can handle the size of this fire alone. "