MONTGOMERY, AL - A second crew of 14 wildland firefighters from the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has been deployed to Texas to assist the Texas Forest Service in fighting wildfires. The two strike teams departed over the weekend, taking additional heavy wildland fire suppression equipment. These men replaced twelve AFC associates who returned to Alabama on Monday, having completed a 14-day assignment in Texas near the towns of Kingsville and Edinburg.
The returning firefighters included Jason Berry (Walker County), Bruce Bowden (Dale County), Jeff Bradford (Lamar County), David Davis (Autauga County), Terry Ezzell (Franklin County), Derrick Heckman (St. Clair County), Tim Kelley (Clarke County), Johnny Knighten (Crenshaw County), Richard McCain (Cleburne County), Keith Niedermeier (Cherokee County), Rusty Smith (Sumter County), and Michael Williams (Marshall County).
The second team of Alabama firefighters, also expected to carry out a 14-day mission, brings the total to 26 AFC personnel who have been recently dispatched to the Lone Star State. The southern part of Texas continues to suffer from extreme and exceptional drought, the worst on record for intensity in nine counties since 1895. Since the first of the year, 13,816 wildfires have consumed 712,571 acres in the state. While 1,187 structures have been lost, firefighters have saved 18,735.