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Mon December 5, 2011
State firefighters spent total of 22 weeks battling blazes in Texas
A good part of the drought-ridden state of Texas was on fire this past year. USA Today reports this spring, firefighters battled "seven of the 10 largest wildfires in state history."
A total of 40 staff members from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have helped battle the blazes in Texas since mid-June. The MDNR said the last of the crews returned home on November 18. The MDNR also sent four tractor/plows to Texas.
From a MDNR press release:
"Fighting wildfires is dangerous, which is why we are happy to report that all of the Michigan DNR staff returned unharmed," says Scott Heather, section manager for the Resource Protection and Cooperative Programs of the Michigan DNR. "Additionally, the State of Texas will reimburse the department for all of the costs associated with having the staff and equipment down there for 22 weeks."
Heather says final accounting hasn't been done yet, but he estimates the state spent around $200,000 to $250,000 on crew and equipment to battle the fires in Texas.
State officials say this was the longest period of time they've sent staff and equipment to another state to fight fires. Michigan firefighters battled two of the largest fires in Texas, "the Bastrop County Complex and the 101 Ranch, saving many homes."