Bell County Strike Teams in full force


Bell County is using what they call “strike teams” to help put out grass and wild land fires. 

The Temple Fire Department says the winter is their peak season to put their team on high alert. 

Temple Fire and Rescue crews say fire departments don’t have enough resources to put out a large grass fire, and this is why they need to be able to call for help. 

Depending on which side of Bell County they are on, it could be the East or West Side Strike Team to the rescue. 

“So the concept of a strike team is that you can get a pool of resources in a short time notification, and they can quickly respond and assist,” said Thomas Pechal, of Temple Fire and Rescue. 

Each fire department has a grass fire vehicle ready to go with at least two firefighters on standby – the strike team.

“By sending one unit, they are still able to provide support and response to their community. They are not sending all of their resources to assist a neighboring department,” said Pechal. 

Temple Fire and Rescue says late summer and all of winter is peak season for grass fires, saying vegetation is dead – a set up ready to burn. 

“If we have an ignition source, a spark, open flame, discarded cigarette – anything that can start that grass burning.” said Pechal. “Warmer temperatures, wind – all of those elements are what you need to start a grass fire.”

Fire departments say the strike team allows for quicker response times, keeping their team ready for other calls. 

Killeen used a strike team for a grass fire near Reese Creek Road on Thursday. Temple Fire and Rescue say they sent out a crew to a 70-acre grass fire on Wednesday. 

Texas A&M Forest Service is also a resource for area fire departments. 

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