SAN ANTONIO – Waiting to board their charter flight to California on Tuesday, 50 firefighters from the San Antonio and Austin area will be on the front lines of the Northern California wildfires.
The local firefighters be among 170 from around the state flying to California in two planes provided by Southwest Airlines.
“Anybody you see here is a brother who wants to help another brother right now,” said Randy Denzer, a battalion chief with the Austin Fire Department.
This will be Denzer’s third deployment to California.
“The one thing that stood out to me the most was that they were so appreciative of us being out there," he said.
Daniel Jimenez, who is part of the SAFD Wildlands team, said by teaming up with firefighters from large and small fire departments, they’re providing mutual aid on a larger scale in California.
“(They) learn how they work and they learn how we work, so that in times when we need to, we can work together at the same level," Jimenez said.
“Anytime that we can go out there and get involved, and give people the help they need it’s always exciting,” said Stuart Henricksen, a San Antonio firefighter on his second deployment to wildfires in California.
Henricksen said he and the other firefighters will return home in the next two or three weeks.