Bexar County creates Wildfire Strike team for faster, coordinated response to grass fires

Wildfire Strike Team consists of several agencies to help fight fires in county

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County fire officials announced a new collaboration with multiple agencies to help fight and respond to grass or wildfires.

The Wildfire Strike team is a special unit focused on covering fires in east and west Bexar County and unincorporated areas that have large pieces of land and dry vegetation.

The strike team will use specialized equipment and gear to fight fires. The equipment includes a wildland apparatus, different trucks and engines to get to brush fires or rough terrain, and a water tender or tanker to get water in places that are hard to reach in the county.

Bexar County fire officials said they have been responding to calls for grass and wildfires nearly every day, and this collaboration will help them coordinate and respond faster and stay on top of a fire before it spreads.

“This will increase our ability to put out fires fast, having that initial response versus one or two trucks showing up to a fire they could mitigate. Due to the weather, humidity and wind, having this team together is going to help,” said Nathan Field, Bexar County Emergency Services District 7 firefighter.

Bexar County fire marshals said the dry conditions outdoors are essentially fuel that can make a brush fire spread quickly.

“Back in April, May and even the beginning of June, we had a lot of precipitation, so that caused a lot of the natural vegetation out there to grow. We actually have an abundance of dried fuel that is out there that can sustain combustion,” said John Ortega, Bexar County’s deputy chief fire marshal.

This is the first time the county fire districts and agencies have coordinated in this way to fight wild or grass fires.

The county is currently under a red flag warning, and conditions continue to worsen with high winds, low humidity and dry landscapes. Bexar County also adopted a 90-day burn ban on Tuesday due to extreme conditions.


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About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.