U.S. Forest Service Unit Stationed in Henrietta

We may have seen some rain in Texoma but the wildfire threat still lingers.  A threat the Texas Forest Service is not taking lightly.  Officials have a unit stationed in Henrietta ready to help Texoma when flames spark.

As of yesterday the Texas Forest Service started to downsize the unit.  From forty men and women to now only fifteen to twenty on standby.  They have started to downsize due to the recent rain fall, but they will not leave until the fire threat is over.

Three dozers, two heavy fire trucks, one water tender, and two aircrafts are the available resources to local fire departments within a moments notice.

The Texas forest Service has units from different state and federal agencies set up across Texas to help assist fire departments with wildfires.

The Texoma home base covering 11 counties is stationed at the Best Western in Henrietta off Highway 287.  A unit has been there since February 24th and plans to stay until fire threats are gone.

Cody Rattan, Regional Fire Coordinator of the U.S. Forest Service, says he thinks fire threats will last for a bit long.  Cody comments, "we still have a pretty significant threat on the west half, really the western two thirds of the region and even with the rain received we still got quite a bit of potential."

These men and women are on duty 12 hours a day and they make sure all equipment is ready and they conduct regular training sessions.  Each member stays on base 14 days at a time then someone else comes in to take their place.

Emergency Management Coordinator of Clay County Kent Neville tells Newschannel 6 that having the readily available resources takes a load off his shoulders as well as local fire departments.  Kent says the county welcomes the members with open arms.

Regional Fire Coordinator Cody Rattan says they chose Henrietta as home base because it is conveniently located off a main highway and they can store their dozers in the TX-dot parking lot right across the street.

Officials say it is likely the unit will be in Henrietta until at least June.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6