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Pagosa firefighters help battle Texas blazes

Three Pagosa Fire Protection District firefighters are in their second week battling wildfires in Texas.

David Hartman, engine boss, Scott Calderwood and Toby Brookens took a type 3 engine to Texas on April 16 to help with fires, said Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Ron Thompson.

The trio deployed to the West Texas Trans-Pecos Complex near San Angelo before being relocated this week to a fire near Fort Davis, outside of El Paso, Thompson said.

On Wednesday, Thompson said his last contact with the firefighters was on Sunday, at which point they were anticipating working in Texas for a few more days and possibly extending the deployment beyond the two-week mark.

Thompson reported that, as of Sunday, the fire the crew is working on was expected to reach 50,000 acres by later that day.

Recent reports from Texas indicated that 225,000 acres have burned in the fire.

Fires in Texas have burned about 1.8 million acres and 900 structures statewide since Jan. 1, according to the Texas Forest Service.

Thompson said if their service is extended, replacement crews will be sent down, and, if not extended, the trio would likely return Saturday or Sunday.

The PFPD will be reimbursed for personnel time and equipment costs for the deployment through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and will not lose any money in the effort, Thompson said.

Emergency personnel from Archuleta County also helped with the recent Boulder County fires in Colorado.

randi@pagosasun.com

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