The New Waverly Fire Department is preparing to deploy an additional wildland fire engine and crew to California this weekend as many Texas Firefighters there now are completing their 14 day deployment to the west coast. A series of lightning storms last month marked an early start to the California fire season, sparking hundreds of fires across the state. So far in 2020, 7,982 wildfires have burned a total of 3,627,010 acres across the state of California. Six of the 20 largest fires in California history have occurred this season, included the largest series of wildfires ever, the August Complex, currently at 867,000 acres.
The Firefighters returning from California were assigned to specialized wildland fire engines from other area fire departments and will fly home, leaving their equipment for fresh crews rotating in from our area. The crew from New Waverly will be taking a New Waverly truck to replace a wildland fire apparatus from the Amarillo Fire Department that is being rotated back home. The Amarillo team has been working as part of a North Texas Strike Team assigned to the 291,000 acre Creek Fire, one of the largest single wildfires in California history. Most of the crews assigned to the Creek Fire have been working 24 hour shifts building containment lines and clearing dry brush to limit the fire’s spread. The Creek Fire is currently estimated to be about 40% contained.
The fresh crews will also likely be deployed for at least two weeks and area Fire Departments are already making plans to send additional crews in the coming weeks as we reach the peak of the California fire season in October and November.