Texas Forest Service sets up second state command post in Lufkin to manage fires

Incident Commander David Abernathy
Incident Commander David Abernathy

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - (KTRE) -  The extreme fire danger across the state isn't expected to let up anytime soon which is overwhelming the Texas Forest Service.  To help our side of the state, a brand new Incident Command Center is now set-up in Lufkin.

The Florida Division of Forestry is helping to staff the post that manages the growing number of fires in East Texas.

"Really part of the problem is statewide... really the entire state is on fire," said David Abernathy, Incident Commander for the Texas Forest Service.

Before, there was only one command center, located out in West Texas. As our fires grew in number and complexity, the decision was made to set-up a second post in Lufkin.

"We can get resources to the places we need faster, quicker and have more hands on deck to help with that," said Melanie Spradling, TFS.

Abernathy is in charge of the five part incident command post which includes command, operations, logistics, planning, and maybe most importantly, finances.

"Tracks all of the costs associated with this which is pretty massive if you can imagine with all the aircraft and bringing in people from out of state to help," said Abernathy.

Like the folks from the Florida Division of Forestry.

"Texas has come to Florida to help us in 1998 with out fires so it works out very good that way," said Bill Scaramellino.

They're working day in and day out, trying to knock these fires out.

"We have to stay with that fire and its not like you can fight the fire and you can go back home - you have to stay with it," said Abernathy.

With little chances of the fire danger decreasing anytime soon, this command center may be here to stay for awhile.

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