NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A group of Nacogdoches firefighters returned home on Thursday after helping combat wildfires in California.
Their captain said it was a learning experience for their department. East Texas News Weekends T’Ebonie Tanner has more.
Greeted with family support, another group of firefighters is back in Nacogdoches from California.
“I know they had a lot of work to do out there. Kept them busy," said Captain Chris Walker with the Nacogdoches Fire Department. “It was really awesome to go out there and work with firefighters from other departments. Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service. They do this about six to eight months out of the year. It was good to learn that and bring it back.”
Their department helped fight wildfires at the Creek Fire near Fresno, California.
“We are used to driving up to a fire with our engines and stretching hoses and putting them out. But out there, you cannot travel with a truck up a mountain. So, it’s a lot more land hoses and such,” said T.A. Turner, a driver/operator for the Nacogdoches Fire Department.
The Nacogdoches Fire Department’s first time going to California to help out was back in 2018. Walker recalled their experience from this past September.
“When we got there, it was a lot of heavy smoke, especially the first week,' Walker said. "It did not matter where you were. If you were in town, or if you were in the mountains,” said Walker. “It is a lot of very steep terrain. It is a little bit harder to get to the fire than it is here. Plus, the size of the fire is huge.”
Although their mission had its challenges, he said it was a memorable experience.
There were 10 firefighters who returned from this last mission. Walker said they are not sure when or if they will be deployed back out to California to help out again.