Texas Forest Service honored with statewide award
GALVESTON, Texas – Texas Forest Service was honored Wednesday by the Texas Fire Chiefs Association for its efforts in administering and promoting the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS).
Through the TIFMAS program, Texas Forest Service awarded $100,000 fire engines to eight city fire departments in mid-February. Just two weeks later, those engines – among others – were deployed to suppress 21 wildfires that charred more than 120,000 acres across the western part of the state.
The “Lone Star Achievement Award” was presented to Texas Forest Service Director Tom Boggus and Mitigation and Prevention Department Head Bruce Woods at the Texas Fire Chiefs Association conference Wednesday in Galveston.
In addition to providing equipment to municipal fire departments, TIFMAS offers training, equipment grants, credentialing standards and mobilization systems to make statewide use of local resources.
The program first mobilized during Hurricane Ike to provide an organized response strategy for the needed resources. TIFMAS also mobilized resources and personnel during the 2009 winter wildfire season.
TIFMAS Coordinator Joe Florentino said the system allows fire responders to shift resources from one part of the state to another without depleting resources in a “hot zone.”
Woods said he was pleased that the TIFMAS program was recognized for its successes.
“The Lone Star Achievement Award recognizes proactive programs that reduce losses by fire and increase firefighter safety,” he said. “TIFMAS is a statewide program that since its implementation has directly saved lives and property and, through coordinated response, has increased firefighter safety.”
Also honored Wednesday by the Texas Fire Chiefs Association were Lufkin Fire Chief Danny Kistner (Safety Award), the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi (Valor Award) and Nacogdoches Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger (Fire Chief of the Year).