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LDAF firefighting teams assist in Texas

April 15, 2009

 Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry firefighting strike teams have been deployed to Granbury, Texas, to assist the Texas Forest Service with wildfires, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said today.
The two LDAF strike teams are comprised of 14 specially trained wildland firefighters and their equipment. They will make the initial attack on wildfires by constructing fire breaks.
Strike team leaders Mike Smith of Kentwood and Darrell Eaves of Merryville along with tractor plow crew members Charles Basso of Independence; Donald Wager of Abita Springs; Thomas Boyler of Minden; John Wright of Shreveport; Lloyd Savell of Florien; Martin Hippler of Pleasant Hill, Eugene Marcantel of Kinder, Wendell Marcantel of Dry Creek, Jason Mosley of Coushatta, William Carpenter of Clinton and Damian Johnson of Zachary, left April 12 for Texas.
The LDAF teams are expected to assist Texas Forestry officials for up to two weeks in the west Texas area.
Along with the crew, LDAF also sent two chase trucks and eight John Deere bulldozers to help prevent further wildfire breakouts.
Strain said the department is able to lend a hand to Texas right now because wildfire danger levels in Louisiana are low to moderate.
“Whenever we are requested to send manpower and equipment to assist other states, we do,” Strain said. “At the same time, we make sure we maintain sufficient resources in Louisiana to take care of any wildfire emergency that may come up.”
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.
            This crew will remain on assignment in Texas for the next 14 days. If the fire activity remains high in Texas, then the strike teams will be replaced with fresh crews.