Imagine blazing fires ripping through the forest while firefighters bravely fight back the flames to save both lives and natural resources. The scene sounds like an action movie.
This is what the wildland firefighters of Texas A&M Forest Service and other wildland firefighting agencies across the U.S. do whenever they encounter a wildfire.
These heroic acts are now illustrated in Disney’s new animated film, “Planes: Fire & Rescue.” The comedy-adventure follows a crew of firefighting aircraft who are tasked with protecting the historic Piston Peak National Park from wildfire. The team battles a devastating wildfire and learns what it means to be heroes.
Something TFS employees know much about. According to the agency Director Tom Boggus, TFS is a premier state agency in the nation. Comprised of over 400 employees, all with servant hearts, TFS answers the call to help protect Texas.
“This film pays tribute to all the brave wildland firefighters not only in Texas but around the world,” said Boggus. “I’m excited that kids of all ages will get a glimpse of the work they do to protect our forests and who knows, it just might inspire some of them to become the wildland firefighters of tomorrow.”
Members of TFS and local firefighters will be at theaters across the state to greet guests, pass out activity sheets for children, and display dozers and other firefighting equipment. TFS will be at the following locations opening weekend:
• Mt. Pleasant Cinema 6, Mt. Pleasant; with the Pittsburg District firefighters and Smokey Bear on July 18, 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. and July 19, 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
• Schulman Theaters Lost Pines 8, Bastrop; with the Smithville taskforce firefighters and Smokey Bear on July 18 at 5 p.m.
• The Carmike, Abilene; with the Merkel and Brownwood taskforce, and Smokey Bear on July 18 at 2:30 p.m.
• Marshall Cinema, Marshall; with ESD #3 Harrison County, Elysian Fields VFD, Caddo USFW Waskom and Smokey Bear on July 18 at 2 p.m.
• Wylie 12 Theater, Wylie; with Wylie’s and Murphy’s fire departments on July 19 at 8:30 a.m.
• Santikos Palladium IMAX, San Antonio; with the San Antonio FD Wildland Fire Division and Smokey Bear on July 18 and 19 at noon.
• Carmike 6 Cinema, Nacogdoches; with the Nacogdoches District firefighters and Smokey Bear on July 18 and 19 at noon.
• Majestic 12 Theater, Greenville on July 20 at 12:30 p.m.
“This is a really great opportunity to raise awareness about wildfires,” Karen Stafford, TFS program coordinator said. “Kids will get to see some of the real-life dozers from the movies and hopefully get a better understanding of the importance of preventing wildfires.”
While TFS does not have its own suppression aircraft, the agency is able to utilize helicopters and air tankers that are on contract with federal wildland fire management agencies. The agency also works with Texas Military Forces, who provide helicopters to drop water and retardant ahead of a fire’s path. Much like the Smokejumpers in the film – the fearless team of TFS ground firefighters use dozers and hand tools to help contain wildfires.
Texas A&M Forest Service contacts:
Karen Stafford, Program Coordinator
Texas A&M Forest Service Communications
[via Texas A&M Forest Service]