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LDAF Sends Firefighters to Assist with Texas Wildfires

February 12, 2008

A Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry firefighting strike team has been sent to Granbury, Texas, to assist the Texas Forest Service with wildfires, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M., said today.

The LDAF strike team, comprised of firefighters and their equipment, will make the initial attack on wildfires by constructing fire breaks.

Strike team leader Mike Smith of Kentwood and tractor plow crew members Bill Carpenter, Clinton; Craig Gottschalck, Ponchatoula; Craig Honeycutt, Grayson; James Pool, Minden; Darrell Eaves, Merryville; and Oris Carrier, Oberlin, left late last week for Texas. They are expected to assist Texas Forestry officials for up to two weeks.

Along with the crew, LDAF also sent three Mack truck transports and three John Deere 650 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 moderate.

“We were requested to send any available manpower and equipment to assist in Texas,” Strain said. “We’re happy to help, but if our situation in Louisiana changes, the team and equipment will return immediately.”

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.