Local Firefighters Head to Bastrop to Help Fight Blaze

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Dozens of fires are tearing across the Lone Star State. They're burning up everything in their path and forcing hundreds of thousands of Texans to flee from their homes.

Now our local fire crews are gearing up to help with the fight.

This has become by far the worst fire season Texas has ever been faced with.

So far over 60 fires are burning in the state but the biggest monster fire crews are battling is the one in Bastrop.

Two people have died from the blaze and over 600 homes have been destroyed.

These huge wildfires are bringing back memories of all the devastation we saw right here in West Texas a few months ago and now these volunteer firefighters just want to help.

Their bags are packed, their air tanks are full and they're ready to take on this monster that Mother Nature keeps feeding.

The wildfire that's ripping through Bastrop has already burned 30,000 acres and now volunteers from the South Ector County Fire Department are jumping in to help.

"Last night laying in bed I got a feeling," Volunteer Firefighter, David Avary, said. "We volunteer all the time out here, let's go down there and see what kind of damage we can do helping them."

"Their fatigue is starting to set in," Volunteer Firefighter, Ryan Smith, said. "They've been out for so many hours. Hopefully when we get down there it gets them some time to relax."

The huge blaze is hitting close to home for Avary and Smith.

"I've got a friend that lives down there in Magnolia," Smith said. "The fire's burning about five miles from his house."

Avary's mother, sister and brother all live in Bastrop.

"Right now they're on a voluntary evacuations but she's saying here in the next few hours it might be mandatory," Avary said.

Fire crews have been battling the blaze for days now but the flames keep spreading.

The men say they aren't sure what to expect with the different terrain.

"You feel a little scared. Then after the scared gets over then your adrenaline kicks in," Avary said. "We're going to use our skills from what we know down here fighting the big huge mesquite trees that we have."

Texas Forest Service estimates 600 homes have been destroyed in the Bastrop area alone but the volunteers say they'll stay as long as it takes to save whatever they can.

"A lot of people work hard for the stuff that they had and it's kind of sad to watch it all burn down," Avary said.

"That's a lot of families without a home," Smith said. "It makes you wanna help."