New Waverly- Late last Friday, as a major fire threatened the town of Graford west of Fort Worth, Texas Emergency Management Officials once again activated the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System or TIFMAS, sending crews of specially trained wildland Firefighters to assist Palo Pinto County officials. Three New Waverly Wildland Firefighters joined a Strike Team made up from crews from Montgomery County and Galveston, driving through the night to reach the scene.
The fire grew to over 11,000 acres over the next few days, forcing evacuations across the area, but was stopped before it could enter the town itself. After a week of working 12 hour shifts, the NWFD’s Strike Team is set to demobilize on July 1st and should return home Friday evening.
TIFMAS was created in 2007 through an Act by the Texas Legislature to create an organized support system for Texas Cities and Counties during disaster situations. The first TIFMAS deployment was in 2008 and the New Waverly Fire Department first deployed in 2009. Since its inception, TIFMAS has dispatched crews throughout the State of Texas and as far away as California for disasters due to fires, floods, hurricanes and other similar events.
Since 2018, New Waverly Firefighters have deployed twice to California in response to major wildfire outbreaks near Malibu and the Sierra Madre mountains.
The costs of these deployments are borne by the State requesting them and the Texas A&M Forest Service assists with the specialized training they require through grants to local departments. Participation in TIFMAS allows agencies like the NWFD to gain the experience and training they need at little to no cost, keeping them better prepared to protect their home communities.