by: Taylor Girtman

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Airtanker Base is now activated for faster wildfire response times and better cost efficiency for Texas wildfires, a release from the governor’s office said. 

Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that he directed the Texas A&M Forest Service to open the base to help local and state wildfire responders ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The base will serve as a reload station for aircraft, including aircraft that drop fire retardant during wildfires. This will supplement the airtanker base in Abilene. 

The airtanker base at Austin-Bergstron International Airport is the only airport in the state set up for a “Very Large Airtanker, or DC-10,” the governor’s release said. 

The Austin base will be manned by personnel from the Texas A&M Forest Service, the US Forest Service and the Austin Fire Department. 

Abbott also added 10 counties to the state’s wildfire disaster declaration for a total of 216 counties.

More than 3,500 acres have burned in wildfires across Central Texas so far this year, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. A total of 48 fires have burned 3,594 acres in the 15-county KXAN viewing area, as of Sept. 1.

SOURCE: https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/austin-airtanker-base-opens-for-wildfire-response/

By wpadmin

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