Updated: Apr 29, 2019
By Ryan Welch
Four Fire Fighters along with Engine number 72 from the New Waverly Fire Department are deployed to California to fight the raging wildfires.
New Waverly Fire Department Spokesman and District Chief Jimmy Williams described the process where Texas fire fighters are deployed to help other states saying, “On a national incident, in a major deployment, it starts at the state level; the state of California had exhausted their resources and began to reach out to other states.” Williams went on to explain that the Governor of California sent a request for a specific number of fire fighters and specific types of engines to Texas Governor Abbot who then used the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aide System to determine what unites to send.
Texas is sending 226 firefighters and 50 fire engines of different types to California after the state requested assistance to fight both wildland and structural fires.
The deployment process is not much different from dispatching local units to west Texas to fight fires, which they have been doing since the 1980s. When asked if the Fire Fighters deployed to California had volunteered or were selected New Waverly District Chief Justin Huddleston said: “We have a pool system that when a request comes down through the channels, we sent it out to the qualified guys in the pool. We needed one engine boss and three fire fighters, and the guys volunteered on a first come first serve basis.”
With only a 12 hour notice, Jason Adams, Steven Billnoske, Chance Gardner, and Byron Robinson volunteered to deploy to fight the Woolsey Fire near Malibu, made all preparations, and were on the road to California. They will be deployed for two weeks after which another group from New Waverly will replace them until they are no longer needed.
Williams also revealed how the New Waverly fire fighters will be cared for while in California saying: “As far as their needs and resources, they are totally supplied and supported out there. What we see in major wildfire like this that even the local citizens will take care of their every need.”
New Waverly and the surrounding communities should feel proud to know that local heroes are helping Californians in their time of need.