Forest Service, Fort Hood agree on deal to accelerate wildfire response

The Associated Press

KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — Officials with the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Army's Fort Hood have reached agreement on a plan to accelerate wildfire response.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, state and military officials will be able to communicate and assist each other directly and cut bureaucratic procedures.

Previously, the Forest Service had to request help from Fort Hood through the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which then would seek assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA then had to make a request to the Defense Department.

Forest Service Executive Director Tom Boggus says emergency response needs to be swift and efficient and the agreement goes a long way toward better protection of lives and property.

The two also can collaborate on training, prescribed burns and wildfire suppression under the deal.