WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Wichita Falls Fire Department is sending one Emergency Vehicle Technician and eight fire fighters to northern California to help battle what is being deemed as the largest wildfire in the state's history.
The flames have not only destroyed thousands of acres of land but at least 1000 structures.
This will be the first time Wichita Falls firefighters have been asked to be a part of a task force heading to California. The Texas Forest Service would normally be sending their crews to help, but Texas is also experiencing dry weather and wildfires. So, they have decided to stay.
The specialized training of WFFD crews is needed because the state of California and its neighboring states are in desperate need for more resources.
The Fire Department is not new to wild fires. It has its own Wildland Strike Team in that was created in 2011 during a period of devastating grass fires in the city's surrounding communities and across Texas.
Fire Chief John Reese said, "We recognized the need due to the urban interface of homes being built out on the edge of wild grasses. We saw the need to have more advanced training than we did before, so we embarked on creating a special division within the fire department that dealt mainly with wildfires."
The WFFD crew members heading out west have all been deployed across Texas before over the last 5 to 6 years. Now, they will face a couple of differences in California.
Chief Reese stated, "We have some experience in elevated type fire in the Davis Mountains here in extreme west Texas, but the fuel types are different for us."
But, they could be asked to work in even more mountainous terrain in California than they have in the past
They will be with division and group supervisors that are from California.