Since its inception in 1915, one of the primary missions of Texas A&M Forest Service has been the suppression and extinguishing of forest fires. In 1993, the mission was expanded to include the coordination of response to each major or potentially major wildland fire in the state.
Texas uses a tiered approach to wildfire response and suppression. Local fire departments and counties are the first responders, with state response being activated as wildfires or conditions exceed the local ability to control. In Texas, TFS is the lead agency for wildfire response. As the suppression resources of TFS and other state agencies are depleted, out-of-state resources are brought in, under state control, to meet essential needs.
The Incident Command System
is used to coordinate the efforts of all cooperators and minimize losses. Safe, but aggressive initial attack is emphasized, based on forecasted fire behavior
. Rapid response and use of appropriate resources are also essential in preventing project fires. These fires are large, destructive, burn multiple days and tie up resources that may be needed to respond to new wildfires.