Local crews battle fires downstate - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Local crews battle fires downstate

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AMARILLO, TX - A new video is probably as close as you're likely to get to flames ripping across open country.  A Hoover Fire Department Volunteer captured the cell phone footage during this weekend's trip down state.  More than twenty people from six panhandle departments went towards Bryson to help battle the big blazes.

The call for help came Friday afternoon as more than 1,000 square miles were burning downstate

"I was kinda surprised it was so far away, but it was pretty cool they were calling us up here to go down there. And they think that much of us to go down there," Skellytown's Nichole Griffith said.

Crews add after the 2006 nightmare in the Panhandle, our area gained a reputation as having some the best at fighting wildfires. But looking back, they say there's a big difference between then and now.

"Up here is more open country. You could see what the fire was doing, and down there it was hilly and trees. You couldn't get an overall picture of the fire," White Deer's Myron Bilgri said. 

The rocks and thick plants meant trucks could only get through if bulldozer cleared the way first. Because of the layout of the land, the crews found the best strategy was setting back fires.

"It's when you set a fire to go back into the fire so you create a burned fuel line between the fire and it," Hoover's John Dean said.

The tactic usually doesn't happen in the panhandle because of our open spaces and high winds. But these guys spent almost 16 hours straight doing it. But the crews won't take any compliments on their hard work, saying the people downstate would do the same for us in a flash.