The fire storm across Texoma has really taken a toll on residents, the land, and the volunteer fire departments in our areas. Many departments have finally caught a break, but are now faced with another problem. The problem is a lack of resources to keep them going to the end of their budget year. Fire fighters are maxing out all their expenses and now their main concern is finding the funding to help them maintain all their equipment. Broken trucks is not something they can afford right now.
Resources are feeling just as much heat as these charred lands did. Just in clay county for example there are 12 fire departments and 69 trucks. Fuel, tires, running maintenance checks on these trucks, your are looking at about $2,000 for every fire they are sent to. A cost that is getting difficult to afford.
Nobody has forced these volunteer firefighters to do their jobs, its something that these volunteer firemen do to protect you and your property. Once they get the tone from the higher power they are off battling flames. These past few days are starting to take its toll on all the equipment used by our fire fighters. Tires are being blown out from running over trees and rocks, fuel costs have gone up, damaged trucks due to heavy smoke in the air are all becoming a burden for these volunteer fire fighters. First they were fighting fires and now they are fighting to just stay funded.
These men have been pulling 24 hour shifts to fight the flames just to return home to the fire station and to do a full maintenance check on their fire trucks. Double work they never even think twice about doing. You ask anyone of these humble firemen if you can help out in any way and all they want is a smile and thank you.
Right now three trucks are down in Clay County but volunteer firefighters are still ready to go at a moments notice if flames spark. Another big concern for fire departments right now is the cost of fuel. Officials say just one fill up can cost them hundreds of dollars.
If you would like to donate and help support your local firefighters click here.
To find out how you can protect yourself and learn about wildfire awareness click here
Natalie Garcia, Newschannel 6