Fire Marshal: Longview firefighters not helping California while fire dangers exist at home

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Firefighters from all over the world are in California helping in the fight against 17 wildfires burning across the state. The Longview Fire Department, however, has no plan to answer the call; they've got plenty to worry about at home.

Take a step outside and it won't take long to find evidence of the severe drought. Gregg County is one of 15 East Texas counties currently under a ban. Conditions are so bad, Longview Fire Marshal Kevin May thinks back to the wildfires of 2011.

"Right now, what they're saying is if we don't get any rain, and with the low humidity levels down around the 20 percent, we're being set up for more wildfires like we had," May said.

That's the reason why May says all of his firefighters will stay pin the city, at least for now. The Longview Fire Department is part of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System. or TIFMAS. It's a network of firefighters all over the country trained to respond to natural disasters like the wildfires burning in northern California.

"We had issues keeping up with our own fires, so we don't want to get into a position where all of our resources are somewhere else, and then we have fires back here at home that we're not able to man," May says.

May added his decision to send local TIFMAS members could changes depending on the forecast over the next few weeks.

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