SAN ANGELO, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Texas firefighters returned home this week after battling a wildfire in California.
A crew from San Angelo, Texas, helped contain the Creek Fire northeast of Fresno, California, for more than a month.
“Fires went really well,” San Angelo Fire Department engine boss and driver Jade Hughes told NewsNation affiliate KLST. “It was a little chaotic at first, but we adjusted to the steep terrain and the large trees that were dead and burning and whenever we finally got adjusted to that, it went really well.”
As of Sunday, the raging Creek Fire burned 348,085 acres. It’s 61% contained, fire officials estimate.
This wasn’t the first time a San Angelo fire crew has deployed to help fight fires in California. The department sent a crew to battle the Woolsey Fire back in 2018 as part of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System.
“It was controlled chaos,” Hughes said. “Everything was blowing up whenever we first got there, but it got a little better. There was very bad air quality, very fixed smoke, where you couldn’t see very far.”
Hughes said the crew and strike teams did their very best to help mitigate the situation. He said the California crews appreciated the assistance from Texas fire departments. He believes their reputation with the West Coast has increased tremendously.
“Thank you San Angelo,” Hughes said. “Thank you to the community, our families, the city manager, mayor, and the governor for allowing us the opportunity to go represent our city of San Angelo, and to try to be a good representation of what a small town in Texas can do.”
NewsNation affiliate KLST contributed to this report.