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LDAF Firefighting Crews Sent to Assist in Texas

July 29, 2009

Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said two Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry firefighting crews will travel to southwest Texas on Thursday to assist the Texas Forest Service in containing wildfires.
The crews will be assigned to the Uvalde area.
Strain said the forest fire danger is minimal in Louisiana at this time but remains high in Texas and the extra help was requested.
“We work with our neighboring states frequently and offer assistance in manpower and equipment whenever we can,” Strain said. “At the same time, we make sure we have enough fire protection personnel and equipment in the state and will recall our firefighting crews immediately if conditions change in Louisiana.”
The two LDAF crews are comprised of 16 specially trained wildland firefighters and their equipment.
Taskforce leaders Henry Childres of Watson and Don Smith of Walker, along with firefighters Andy Parrish of Colfax, Glen Poole of Winnfield, Bill Carpenter of Clinton, Damian Johnson of Zachary, Chuck Basso of Independence, Donald Wager of Abita Springs, Rickey Boggs of Dry Creek, Mark Davis of Hornbeck, Jeff Bolyer of Minden, Terry Slack of Vivian, David Long of Coushatta, James Maxey of Natchitoches, Eugene Marcantel of Mittie and Kevin Tichy of Oakdale are expected to assist Texas Forestry officials for up to two weeks.
In addition to fire crews, the LDAF is also sending three John Deere 750 bulldozers that are used to dig fire lines to prevent the spread of wildfires.
Strain said the Texas Forest Service activated the South-Central and Southeastern Forest Fire Compact agreements which allow member states to assist in a variety of emergencies if they are able.
The crews will remain on assignment in Texas for the next 14 days and then return to Louisiana. If the fire activity remains high in Texas, then the firefighters will be replaced with fresh crews.