San Angelo, Texas - As damage from wildfires approaches 1 million acres across Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine continue to provide valuable support to local, state and federal emergency responders.
On April 11, air interdiction agents from CBP OAM's San Angelo Air Unit helped contain a wildfire near San Angelo.
The San Angelo Air Unit responded to a call from the Concho Valley Emergency Management Office requesting air support to provide situational awareness of the path and speed of the wildfire that had been started by lightning strikes early Monday morning. The fire went out of control when winds whipped up during the afternoon, quickly endangering first responders and several residential dwellings.
A crew from the unit deployed to the command post to coordinate air support, and two OAM aircraft, a Cessna 206 fixed-wing aircraft and an AS-350 helicopter, launched to provide aerial support. The C-206 relayed locations of residential structures and the path and speed of the fire providing valuable information to the command post and ground forces. Both aircraft provided airborne support for approximately three hours until a U.S. Forest Service aircraft arrived to assume aerial surveillance duties and direct water bombers and helicopters to drop locations.
The coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal first responders and the San Angelo Air Unit prevented a potentially devastating wildfire from spreading beyond the approximate 22,000 acre burn area. These fires are known to destroy ranches and livestock.
"The support provided is another example of how the aircrew of the San Angelo Office of Air and Marine protect the American people and our nation's critical infrastructure," said Andrew Duff, Director of Air Operations, San Angelo.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.