Gov. Greg Abbott deploys 200 Texas firefighters to battle California wildfires

Jeff Ehling Image
Monday, November 12, 2018
Local firefighters to provide aid in California
Local firefighters are on the way to California to help crews there battle ongoing wildfires.

NEW WAVERLY, Texas (KTRK) -- About 200 firefighters from across Texas are headed to California to help battle the wildfires consuming that state.

The call for help came in over the weekend, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the firefighters with 55 fire engines from local fire departments would be deployed to California Monday morning.

"When disaster strikes, it is imperative that the call for help is answered, and that is exactly what these men and women serving in fire departments across Texas are doing," said Governor Abbott in a statement. "As California continues to fight these fires, Texas will be sending its bravest firefighters to aid in their efforts. Our prayers go out to all who have been impacted by these devastating wildfires, and the State of Texas will continue to offer any resources to aid in the recovery process."

After the announcement, it didn't take long for firefighters from New Waverly to sign up to help those in need.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Ehling is with the New Waverly Fire Department, where crews are on the way to California.

The crew arrived to their station just before 4:30 a.m. to load up into the fire engine and start making the drive to California.

It was not too long ago that we had devastating wildfires in our area and the men going to California know just how destructive and fast-moving these fires can be. They say they are eager to help.

"We fight fire here. We don't do the big wildfires, but we do have some wildfires around here, and we've been through those experiences already. When that call came in, our guys were ready to go," said New Waverly FD District Chief Kevin Traylor.

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The crew will be gone at least 14 days, but could stay longer if needed.

Eleven fire departments leaving from Katy are going to the Woolsey Fire in southern California, where they will likely be protecting homes and structures from the advancing fire and trying to put out hot spots where the flames have already destroyed more than 91,000 acres.

"There are several firefighters who have lost their house and to be able to give them a chance to go home and for them to rebuild or see their family, we are glad to do it. They came to help us during the hurricanes and we are here to hep them," said Porter FD Chief Carter Johnson.

"This means a lot. It is about the brotherhood and when somebody needs help, we go," added Needham FD Deputy Chief Steve Brooks.

Some of the Texas crews are taking trucks designed to fight wildfires while others are taking trucks designed to battle house fires.

It will take two full days to get there and then the 14-day assignment will begin. The crews will miss Thanksgiving with their families, but they say that's a sacrifice they are willing to make.

Eleven local fire departments are on their way to California to help battle catastrophic wildfires.

RELATED: California wildfires claim dozens of firefighters' homes

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