North Texas firefighters who helped battle one of the largest and most destructive fires in California history are back home.
“230,000 acres is a lot of country, very steep, rugged, a lot of timber, drive through areas completely black,” said Lewisville Fire Captain Brandon Woodward. “The trees have all been burned, some are still standing, but all the needles are gone off of them. It is a desolate picture when you drive out to a fire that large.”
Captain Brandon Woodward spent two weeks in California, working to help put out the fire that killed 4 residents and 2 firefighters, and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
“Of course the homes on the west side of Redding that were burned. It's bleak. It reminds you that the people there had endured quite a disaster,” said Woodward.
One of the tasks of the North Texas team, was fighting fire with fire.
"When we arrived we went right to work actually setting fire to remove the fuel."
The firefighters from Lewisville, Dallas, Frisco, Little Elm and Lake Cities worked in 24-hour shifts for two weeks.
“Physically demanding hiking up and down the hills all day long in the dust and smoke,” said Woodward. “These guys slept on the hill in the dirt, when there was an opportunity to sleep.”
In all, 97 firefighters from around the state worked in the effort.
“I feel like our folks did a good job representing North Texas in California,” said Woodward. “Ran into some residents from the North Texas they were exceptionally proud that we were there helping them.
The cities that participated in the task force will be reimbursed for the cost of resources. Other cities are also part of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, and will be called on next time help is needed.