• September 20, 2014

Post, state sign firefighting pact

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Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 4:30 am

FORT HOOD — The state firefighting agency and the Army installation formalized a cooperation agreement Monday that will allow the post’s extensive resources to assist in wildfires.

Fort Hood’s garrison commander and the director of the Texas A&M Forest Service signed the agreement at Fort Hood’s central fire station. It will allow the post to assist the state in fighting fires and vice versa.

The post and the state have aided each other in the past, but that was through a “gentleman’s agreement,” Fort Hood Fire Department Chief Billy Jack Rhoads said.

State firefighters assisted Fort Hood when a wildfire charred 1,500 acres after the range near Jack Mountain caught fire in September 2011.

“This is very important considering the fires we’ve had around here,” Forest Service Director Tom Boggus said.

Fort Hood has several agreements in place to assist cities neighboring the post, including Killeen. The department has about 100 firefighters working at five stations.

Rhoads said the agreement will allow for quick communication between the state and Fort Hood. Before Monday, any formal request for aid would have to be sent up a chain of command before it could be approved.

The agreement allows the state and post to start training with each other, which should make firefighters get better at working together, Rhoads said.

“If you boil it all down, it is improved public safety,” Forest Service Fire Chief Mark D. Stanford said.

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