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NEWS | Sept. 22, 2011

FEMA using Seguin airfield to assist Texas wildfire victims

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

Randolph Air Force Base last week became part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's effort to assist the victims of the wildfire that has destroyed nearly 1,600 homes this month in Bastrop County east of Austin.

The base's Seguin Auxiliary Airfield, typically used by the 12th Flying Training Wing for its instructor pilot training mission, is now a federal staging area for the transport of mobile housing units to the Bastrop area, which has been declared a federal disaster area.

"The 902nd Mission Support Group is tasked to support FEMA by staging mobile housing units that will be provided for displaced families affected by the fire disaster," Chris Kelly, 502nd Air Base Wing Operating Location B plans, programs and exercises chief, said. "The MHOs are shipped to Seguin, where FEMA personnel receive them and send them to their assigned location."

The 12th FTW had already ceased its flying operations Sept. 14 for prescheduled runway repairs. The 14- by 64-foot mobile homes, also known as temporary housing units, began arriving Sept. 16, Kelly said.

"The FEMA representatives are receiving the trailers and ensure they meet specifications," he said. "Later they'll ship them out."

Kelly said Randolph is providing FEMA personnel with a trailer for office space, as well as security and ramp space on the airfield's apron near the facility's fire station.

Initial tasks included widening the airfield's north gate to accommodate the mobile homes and installing traffic control signs and airfield management barriers. Randolph also provided spill containment kits and fire extinguishers. The base may also supplement FEMA's supply of light-alls, portalets and gas and diesel fuel.

FEMA is providing dumpsters and lodging for its personnel.

Kelly said the 12th FTW and all the key functional directorates under the 902nd MSG are contributing to the airfield mission.

The airfield was last used by FEMA as a commodities staging area to assist victims of Hurricane Ike three years ago.