Galveston firefighters return home after battling wildfires in California

A group of Galveston firefighters are home safe after battling those deadly wildfires out in California.

Six firefighters, including the chief, were out in Redding, where they worked to contain the Carr Fire. They were supposed to be gone two weeks, but that turned into nearly three weeks as California dealt with a very early start to their fire season.

It was call for help from California as wildfires raged on in the state and additional resources were desperately needed.

“This is the first time Texas has ever been asked to go help another state and certainly the first time Galveston has ever gone,” Galveston Fire Chief Mike Wisko says.

It was earlier in August when those firefighters flew out of Hobby Airport. In total, 97 individuals from Texas with 31 trucks, representing 32 different fire departments responded to that call, focusing their fight in Northern California. 

“1,100 homes destroyed in one town. Ultimately, seven people including four firefighters being killed because of the fire,” Chief Wisko says.

The terrain was, at times, treacherous. The temperatures, extreme -- ranging from 105 degrees during the day to the 40’s at night.

“Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to see something on the scale that we witnessed in California,” Chief Wisko says.

The team from Galveston fought the same fire, but on different forces. The work to contain the fire was essentially nonstop. The Texans learned alongside their fellow firefighters from other states.

It was one state helping another, as it wasn’t long ago California sent personnel to Texas, assisting in the aftermath of what Mother Nature can sometimes bring our way in the form of tropical trouble -- whether that be Ike or Harvey. 

“We viewed this as an opportunity just to pay back for the help we got," Ch ief Wisko says.

Their fire season doesn’t start until next week. As the chief said, this was a bit premature for California, so the helped was gladly welcomed so those living in California could rest up.