LFR firefighters back from fighting California wildfires

LFR firefighters return from California

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Earlier this month, Lubbock Fire Rescue deployed four of its firefighters to northern California to help battle the fires raging in the state.

Those Lubbock firefighters have now returned from the front lines of the Carr Fire.

Battalion Chief Lee Jones said this was all possible through a program they use called the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, or TIFMAS. TIFMAS is usually used within state lines to help other parts of Texas battle natural disasters, but because there were so many fires popping up in California, an exception was made.

"I kind of thought like everyone else, those are huge fires and they're getting out of control. I hope they can get them stopped," Jones said.

Jones didn't realize he would soon be out in California battling those fires he saw on TV, but earlier this month, California sent an emergency management request to Texas to get as many firefighters as the could to help battle these fires. LFR sent four firefighters over through the TIFMAS team, something they were glad to do, but  knew it wasn't going to be easy.

"Being in California versus being in West Texas, it's a completely different environment. All the fires are topography driven there, where as here in West Texas, most of our fires are wind driven," he said.

The Lubbock firefighters sent were four out of 97 other Texas firefighters, along with people from all over the world

For 14 days, Lubbock firefighters worked alongside others on the Carr fire in California. They worked day and night, sometimes for 24 hours straight.

"Every work shift we did we would normally be in a new spot we hadn't been in before. It may be holding a fire from jumping the line, the next day making sure everything was out," Jones said.

After 14 days in California, this LFR firefighter says he would go back if it was needed.

"It's no different than Lubbock going over and helping Wolfforth," Jones said. "It's just a neighbor helping neighbor, but its just a bit more extended neighbors than we are used to."

California reimbursed Texas and all local governments for the cost associated with the deployment.

Currently, the Carr Fire the LFR firefighters were working on has burned over 200,000 acres and is 96 percent contained.

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