Texoma has seen some moisture but volunteer fire departments are saying it is not enough to recover from the drought. The Bellevue VFD is gearing up for what they say could be a very busy next few months. If we start seeing more cold fronts come in they could bring in heavy winds, which are what fuel any fire.
Weather specialist say the recent rain fall has not been enough to recover from this summers drought. That has made most of the vegetation out there still drought stressed and very vulnerable. Mark Hanson, Fire Chief of Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department comments, "With high winds pushing through and everything dead and still drought stressed, we get a fire going then it could be just as devastating as the stuff we saw this summer."
Even though November and December have been fairly quiet and wet, Hanson says that can all change. "The rain will help as long as it's there periodically. But a good strong dry wind in a couple of days we could be back to burning."
To make sure equipment stays in tip top shape and ready to roll when needed Volunteer Fire Departments have been keeping busy. They spend their down time doing maintenance on their trucks, but that means more money. For many VFD's their pocket books are already tight.
Hanson says, "Normally when it does slow down the donations slow down. When fires getting busy donations get busy. That's where most volunteers need donations just to keep up with utilities. They also need to get the equipment fixed and ready to go for the upcoming fire season."
But thanks to a FEMA grant and the Wichita Falls Area Foundation Chief Hanson says Bellevue VFD is awaiting a new grass fire truck next month. An F5-50 quick attack type six engine.
"The 69 model that it's replacing topped speeds at 45 miles an hour. We want to get there quicker and that's purpose of this truck." Chief Hanson says getting the new truck will be a huge help. Although he still hopes the next few months stay just as calm as they have been.
If you would like to support the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department Saturday is the Bellevue VFD's monthly jamboree. The event kicks off at 6:30pm and goes until 10. There will be plenty of food and music for you to enjoy. They are expecting around 100 people but say they always welcome new faces.