As we cross the halfway point of July, wildfire danger continues to increase across the state. On Friday, Texas A&M Forest Service firefighters responded to 15 new wildfires that burned 651 acres. As of Sunday, there were eight active wildfires; the largest was the Nethery Road Fire in Kimble County, involving an estimated 3,500 acres. It has been 70 percent contained.
The forest service is taking to the air to augment fire suppression efforts on the ground. It has opened the Austin Airtanker Base at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The service has mobilized three dozen aircraft at 17 airports around the state for wildfire response. The Austin Airtanker Base will serve as a reload station for aircraft coming and going to wildfires. It is the only airport in the state set up for what is known as a Very Large Airtanker, or DC-10.
— Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches and Cedar Park. Email: email@example.com.