Texas owns no fixed-wing firefighting planes, TDEM chief tells House panel

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TDEM Chief told House panel TX owns no firefighting planes, relying on private and federal aircraft, and suggested the state should acquire its own fleet.

Tue, April 2nd 2024 at 5:48 PMTexas does not own any fixed-wing firefighting planes itself, the Division of Emergency Management Chief told a House panel investigating the deadly Panhandle wildfires in its first hearing on Tuesday, though he says the state should consider changing that. Texas does not own any fixed-wing firefighting planes itself, the Division of Emergency Management Chief told ain its first hearing on Tuesday, though he says the state should consider changing that.

"Does Texas need its own aircraft? If you ask me that, my answer is yes," Kidd said on Tuesday. "Did the federal government not have the contracts in place, before this fire started? The answer to that is: yes, they did not have the contracts in place ahead of time. Did they jump through their hoops at the staff level to get those aircraft available? Yes, they did, but they were late to the game.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian, held the first of a planned three meetings this week in the panhandle town of Pampa. Ultimately, the committee is tasked with putting together a report, including legislative recommendations, by May 1.Another question on Tuesday largely surrounded who or what was ultimately responsible for the initial ignition of the wildfires.

 

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