Travis County Releases Report on Labor Day Fires
The Travis County Office of Emergency Management released an after-action report on the Labor Day weekend fires. Travis County's emergency management coordinator, Pete Baldwin, says given the number of fires and the resources that were allocated, firefighters did an adequate job.
“We had six major fires burning that one day, that Sunday, and we had fires all around us. Bastrop was burning, Williamson County, Burnet County were all running fires," Baldwin told KUT News. "If we had had access to state resources, such as air assets or ground assets, we could have done a much better job. But all of those assets were tied up on other fires throughout Texas that day.”
The report also found that the different departments could have done a much better job in getting relevant information out to the public. Baldwin says the Office of Emergency Management was having trouble getting information from the individual fire departments themselves because every officer was busy fighting fires. As a result, Travis County is looking into special training and utilizing social media to help to get the right information out as quickly as possible.
“We are sending about 24 regional public information officers next week up to Maryland for a 4-day course put on by the Federal Emergency Management Administration on setting up joint information centers. We are also in the process of training up a number of our fire fighters in Travis county for fire public information officers.”