Dallas, TX (9/6/11) – At least 57 wildfires continue to burn in 17 counties across Texas with ten new “large” fires being reported on Monday evening. The Salvation Army is serving at the site of the largest fire, in Bastrop County, about 30 miles east of Austin, and additional units are on standby throughout the State.
According to Major John Carter, Austin Area Commander for The Salvation Army and Incident Commander for the Central Texas wildfire operation, approximately 600 firefighters will be working to control the two major wildfires in and around the city of Bastrop by Tuesday evening. The Salvation Army’s main responsibility at this stage is to provide hydration, snacks and other needed items to the first-responders and firefighters.
Salvation Army mobile feeding units and crews have been mobilized from Kerrville, Waco, Temple and San Antonio, in addition to two units from the Austin area. Each mobile kitchen, with the capacity to feed up to 2,500 meals per day, will stay on alert as long as needed and will be re-located as necessary. The Salvation Army units are currently stationed at Camp Swift and at the City of Bastrop Convention Center. Working closely with the Baptist’s Men’s Association of Texas, The Salvation Army is making plans to ensure that they have the capacity to feed all of the firefighters.
As the wildfires continue to spread and threaten additional communities, Salvation Army locations currently beyond the immediate area are on full alert. “We’re talking about families that are being affected; in some cases people have already been displaced. It’s a very distressing situation and our role is to provide whatever assistance we can, for as long as we can,” says Major Chris Flanagan, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command. “Our primary goal is to provide assistance and support to first responders in the affected areas, as well as to the individuals and families that have directly been affected. We are prepared to operate our canteens as long as we are needed.”
The small community of Spicewood, Texas, with a population of only 1,200 people, lost 68 homes to a wildfire on Tuesday. The community has rallied and converted a church into a relief center and is providing shelter, food and assistance to those who have lost everything. On Tuesday afternoon, a request was received by The Salvation Army to help in Spicewood. However, the request was not for food or shelter, but for emotional and spiritual support. Salvation Army staff from the Austin Area Command will visit Spicewood, Wednesday, and spend time ministering to those whose lives have been turned upside down by this tragedy.
Monetary donations to support The Salvation Army Disaster Services can be made by:
• MAIL – please send checks to The Salvation Army, PO Box 36607, Dallas, TX 75235
• PHONE at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
• ONLINE at www.salvationarmytexas.org