DALLAS — Dry conditions and grass fires have been a thorn in the side of fire departments all across the Lone Star State, leaving many to re-evaluate their resources. 

Balch Springs Fire Marshal Sean Davis has held that title since 2017. Before that, he spent countless years being a firefighter in this Dallas County community.

However, in all of Davis’ years, he’s never dealt with a grass fire like the late-July ones that affected 26 homes, leaving several destroyed. 

“Frankly, nobody has seen anything of that significance and size,” Davis said. 

When combating grass fires, Davis says they heavily rely on a duster, which is a pickup truck that can easily travel off-road, getting firefighters and water where it’s needed. Since the BSFD only had one duster, Davis says crews struggled to put out the grass fires that were quickly spreading. 

“Every time we disengaged to refill, all the fire that we were extinguishing was reigniting,” Davis noted. 

Davis believes an additional duster would’ve allowed the fire department to better deal with the situation. 

Besides perfect grass conditions, Davis notes the BSFD needs more fire stations and staff to match the population and infrastructure growth in the area. 

Texas A&M Forest Services say about 224 counties are currently under a burn ban. 

Jim McDade, the president of the Dallas Firefighters Association, says Dallas fire departments currently have the resources they need, but they’re staying extremely busy this summer. 

“As the cities expand and bump up against, especially some of these forested areas, you know, your wild land, urban interface, um, you’re going to see a lot more of these,” McDade said. 

Davis says they’re in early talks with Balch Springs city leaders on ways to address their own resource needs. 

“That may mean a bond or it may mean a tax increase or reallocating funds,” Davis said. “We’re going to figure out a way to work with what we’ve got.”