AUSTIN (KXAN) — With destructive fires popping up in all corners of Central Texas this week, from Hays County to Cedar Park to east Austin, Travis County Emergency Services Districts said they’re constantly coordinating among themselves and those surrounding counties to make sure resources are in the right place.
“It’s not just Travis County, we’re doing Hays County, Williamson County, and all the surrounding. When there’s a large fire it’s everybody’s problem,” Travis County Fire Chief Robert Abbott told commissioners Tuesday.
Travis County said it’s coordinating daily with Austin Fire, among the ESDs and other Central Texas counties right now.
“What does our staffing look like? Where are we seeing fires occur? Who do we already have on the fire line that we need to replace? It’s really about communication,” said Michael Prather, assistant chief of operations at Lake Travis Fire Rescue.
Staffing is something that’s changed this summer with conditions being what they are. Prather said Travis County Starflight is going up sooner and they’re working to get more units out the door on fire calls to make sure a small fire doesn’t become a big one.
“Looking at upgrading our response to a brush fire instead of sending one or two units we’re now talking about sending more, getting those apparatus on the road in that direction,” said Prather.
Travis County ESD staffing
In a presentation for Travis County Commissioners Tuesday, ESD leaders said with the growth of the county and the increased need for fire and EMS services, minimum staffing has overall gone up nearly 20% since 2022.
“Which is another indication of just how fast we are growing and the demand that is driving the increase in staffing that we need,” one ESD leader told the body.
That increase equates to nearly 120 new uniformed employees since 2022.