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Weber, Lone Peak fire crews travel to Texas to help fight wildfires

Posted at 8:59 PM, Mar 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 00:49:05-04

BEEVILLE, Texas — Along with federal resources from the Great Basin, two fire districts from Utah have crews in Texas assisting with wildfire suppression.

“If other agencies, other resources need help, we go out, we help them," said TJ Reeder, the assistant fire warden and wildland engine captain with Weber Fire District. "Same thing with us back home — if we need help, we reach out and people come and help us."

Weber Fire District’s crew has been working out of Beeville and has been assigned to a local task force where they assist departments with “fast-moving wildland and urban interface fires.”

“Here in Southern Texas, we don’t get the topographic influences so everything’s just wind-driven,” said Reeder.

After being asked to stay another week in Texas, a Lone Peak Fire District crew was working initial attack on Sunday night on a wildfire closing in on the town of Walnut Springs.

“We’re anticipating highs in the 90s, 95 area, with winds gusting around 20 miles an hour,” said Chris Willden, the wildland fire program manager for Lone Peak Fire District.

FOX 13 News spoke with Willden prior to his crew's movement from Mineral Wells to the Walnut Springs area.

“If we didn’t have the support back home, this would be real hard for us to do," he said.

Both Weber and Lone Peak crews mentioned the training and collaborative opportunities they’ve been able to take advantage of while serving communities in Texas.

“This is a good — in a round-about way — kind of a good trial run to where we can come back home, reset the truck, move some stuff and kind of prepare ourselves to get ready for when our season finally starts back in Utah,” said Willden.

READ: Utah fire officials talk dry conditions, controlled burn safety

After initially working on a large-scale incident named the "Big L Fire," Lone Peak’s crew has recently been working alongside the Texas A&M Forest Service from Mineral Wells.

Both crews, who are expecting to be in Texas for more than a week as of Sunday, shared their gratitude for those back home in Utah supporting their efforts to fight out-of-state fires.

“We’re here as a crew,” said Reeder. “We’re here as our own little family, and we take care of each other from the time we leave Utah to the time we come back.”