Amarillo Fire Dept. sending crew to California to help battle wildfires

Local News

UPDATE: 09/13/2020 Captain Cody Snyder with the Amarillo Fire Department said. “I was just informed that the task force that our guys are attached to arrived in California last night. They have been assigned to the Sierra Creek Fire.”

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — About 190 firefighters, 50 fire trucks, and 10 command vehicles from 56 Texas fire departments were deployed Friday to help with the California wildfires, including five crew members from the Amarillo Fire Department.

AFD said five crew members are headed to the Golden State on their TIFMAS truck. They will meet with the rest of the responding task force before heading out of town.

“We got our resource orders and we are heading out to California,” said Capt. Josh Whitney, Amarillo firefighter.

Amarillo Fire Department said that the crew arrived in Barstow, California Friday evening.

The crew will be deployed for 14 days with the possibility of seven more days.

Capt. Whitney, one of the firefighters going to assist in combating the fires in California said it feels good to help out.

“We are just here to help. We have the skill set. We can assist the other state with what we know how to do and we are just going to help others, our fellow Americans,” said Capt. Whitney.

Capt. Cody Snyder, Public Relations Officer with the Amarillo Fire Department said the crew heading to California is part of a specially trained group of individuals.

“It takes several hours of classroom work and then they have to, every year they have to recertify for what’s called a red card,” said Capt. Snyder. This including a pack test standard that requires them to complete a 3-mile hike while carrying 45 pounds within 45 minutes.

Capt. Snyder said helping those in need is nothing short of when those in California helped Texas when they needed it.

“That’s why we signed up, to be a part of the program. With Hurricane Harvey and some of the wildfires we’ve had, we’ve had multiple states come in and help us out and it’s just nice to return the favor,” said Capt. Snyder.

So far in California, more than three million acres have burned, there have been 20 fatalities, and over 6 thousand structures damaged or destroyed, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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