Lack of communication leaves JBSA-Camp Bullis neighbor frustrated

Brush fire 70% contained, officials say

SAN ANTONIO – The weekend wildfire at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis is now 70% contained. But while that’s a relief, nearby neighbors of the military installation are not happy with the way the military helped them stay informed.

As the fire got closer to James Kissling’s ranch, he and his family were left wondering what to do next.

“We had no idea what was going on,” Kissling said. “The only updates we received were from Bulverde Fire Department personnel that we encountered on the road at 2:30 in the morning.”

His ranch meets up to the fence line of JBSA Camp Bullis off West Ammon Road.

Kissling said on Saturday they got a call from Comal County Emergency Management to evacuate, but after that things got quiet.

“I like for them to know that we were in peril Saturday night and Sunday morning, and for them not to communicate one iota is not acceptable,” he said.

As the fire inched closer and not knowing who to call, Kissling and his family had to start making plans if the fire jumped onto his property.

″This is our livelihood out here,” Kissling said. “If it were to go up, it would take months, if not years, to recover from it. I don’t think that the people at Bullis really get that.”

The massive brush fire has burned 3,000 acres since it sparked on Saturday afternoon, according to authorities.

JBSA officials said that as of Monday afternoon, the wildfire was 70% contained and no further evacuations are expected.

This isn’t the first time the Kissling Family has dealt with a fire from JBSA-Camp Bullis.

“This is probably the fourth large fire that they’ve had, and they really need to review their protocols,” he said.

While Kissing understands training has to happen, he feels there is no concern for nearby homes as trainings and controlled burns have taken place during Red Flag Warning Days or during a drought.

“What precautions do they have in place so we no longer have these large fires?” Kissling said.

KSAT 12 reached out by email to JBSA about the concerns Kissling had and have yet to hear back.

Kissling did say he invites government officials to come out and see just how close they are and what they are dealing with. He said the goal is for them all to be better neighbors with each other.

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About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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