MERKEL, TX (WDAM) - A team of Mississippi firefighters have been sent to Texas to protect life and property from dangerous wildfires burning near Merkel, TX, just west of Abilene.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission deployed one of its Wildland Firefighting strike teams, along with two bulldozers, to help suppress the fires. The team arrived in Texas on Tuesday.
MFC officials confirm three of the five team members are from South Mississippi. The agency did not release the names of the firefighters out of respect for their privacy.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, 111 wildfires have burned more than 25,000 acres of land in Texas over the past week. Areas in north and west Texas remain under "critical and elevated" fire risks.
The MFC says Wildland Firefighters "fight fire with fire" by creating a fire line around the perimeter of the blaze and then lighting a controlled burn on the inner edge of the line to deprive the flames of the dry vegetation they need to spread.
But, the job is not over once the fire is contained. The team must monitor the wildfire to make sure no hot embers cross the fire line, creating a new threat to surrounding areas.
"We appreciate our employees taking part in these efforts to help our state and federal partners in Texas. Fighting the destructive power of wildfire means that our Wildland Firefighters are working in extreme conditions protecting people's lives, homes, and forestland," said Charlie Morgan, State Forester.
Morgan said the Mississippi strike team should return home in about two weeks.