Firefighters from 29 Texas fire departments are headed to California to help fight wildfires that have burned more than 750,000 acres.
The deployment of the 98 firefighters from 20 different counties is an activation of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System for wildfire suppression.
"It’s about neighbors helping neighbors," said Tom Boggus, Texas A&M Forest Service director. "We call TIFMAS our 'surge capacity' for Texas. Guess this time their reach is a bit farther away but we hope to make a big impact in people’s lives."
The State of California requested help from Texas A&M Forest Service through TIFMAS. Texas A&M Forest Service will also respond with 25 fire engines with five strike teams to the 290,692-acre Mendocino Complex fire, the largest wildfire in the state's history.
"Nationally, we know that resources are tapped," said Texas A&M Forest Service Chief Regional Coordinator, Steve Pollock, who is heading up the Texas convoy to California. "We are glad to help out and that TIFMAS firefighters were able to answer the call. The apparatus we are deploying are a mix of small and mid-sized engines used in structure fires."
In California, there are 20 uncontained wildfires. Nine people have died, thousands have been evacuated and about 160 homes have been damaged or destroyed from the wildfire, Texas A&M Forest Service said.
The convoy of transports deployed on Monday night for the two-day trip to California. Responders began boarding flights to the area on Tuesday morning and will report for duty on Thursday morning.
The following fire departments participating include:
- Abilene Fire Department
- Austin Fire Department
- Baytown Fire Department
- Borger Fire Department
- Bryan Fire Department
- Canyon Lake Fire Department
- College Station Fire Department
- Dallas Fire and Rescue Department
- District 7 Fire Rescue
- Frisco Fire Department
- Galveston Fire Department
- Kyle Fire Department
- Lake Cities Fire Department
- Lewisville Fire Department
- Little Elm Fire Department
- Lubbock Fire Department
- Montogomery County ESD #6
- Nacogdoches Fire and Rescue
- Oak Hill Fire Department
- Travis County ESD #3
- Parker County Texas A&M Forest Service
- Webster Fire Department
- Wichita Falls Fire Department Willis Fire Department
For more information, visit tifmas.org.
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