Following up a little on Fixer's post
Texas cut fire department funding by 75 percent this year
The majority of Texas is protected by volunteer fire departments. There are 879 volunteer fire departments in Texas and only 114 paid fire departments. Another 187 departments are a combination of volunteer and paid.
For that reason, aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could be more important than ever to the state where wildfires have recently been raging.
Smooth move, Ex-Lax. YOU slash state funding for the Texas cellar-savers and WE get to pay for it with that federal gummint money you claim not to like.
A word about wildfires in the west. One time, I was driving south through Nevada from Oregon on US 95
through a series of thunderstorms. There were 33 - I counted - lightning-caused fires on either side of the road for about fifty miles. A coupla acres each and the entire firefighting effort that I saw was half a dozen blanketasses with shovels in the back of a Ford pickup.
It was sufficient. None of the fires came within ten miles of a structure. I think the Indians were just there to respond in case any of them did.
A minimal effort like that is fine out in the middle of nowhere. Not so fine where people live.
I live in the middle of a pine forest that stretches for hundreds of miles. Just here around my town, there are more fire departments than you can shake a stick at. My town has gone from a volunteer fire department (motto: "We haven't lost a foundation yet!") with a coupla paid firefighters who drove the trucks to where the volunteers would hopefully show up, to a professional paid fire department
with four fire stations and all kinds of modern equipment. They put out fires and save lives and God bless 'em.
All the little towns and even some of the ski areas
around here have their own fire departments. They all have mutual assistance pacts. A forest fire is no respecter of city limit signs. We have CalFire
, and the Forest Service
. We have access to air tankers, water-dropping helicopters, hotshot
) and jail inmate
hand crews from anywhere in the state or other states if we need them. Shit, I think we've called on Mexican bomberos
to come help on occasion.
In short, when there's a fire, the idea is to PILE ON.
Cuts are happening and they're killing people and destroying property. The point is that every last dime for all this is from our tax money and I don't begrudge one damn penny of it. It's something we do for ourselves and one another as a society where we give a damn about others.
Oh, that's right, current Repug policy is "I got mine and fuck you", never mind if some people get terribly hurt. After all, low taxes and services are what people want, right? Right? I hope the current awful conditions in Texass bite Ricky Boy right on the ass.
I hope they're a lesson to other governors etc. as well. There's such a thing as false economy where saving money now will cost a hundred times as much later.