A week after firefighters from across Texas were deployed to fight devastating wildfires in California, Austin Fire Department crews learned Monday they should be home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
The department said its members, along with firefighters from Oak Hill, Round Rock, Lake Travis, Kyle and Bryan, should arrive in Texas sometime Wednesday.
"Thanks to all of you for your thoughts, prayers, kind words, and good thoughts for these brave folks who left their families behind to go and do some of the most dangerous work around," AFD said on its Facebook page.
Austin firefighters arrived in Southern California last Tuesday and were put to work patrolling Malibu for secondary fires that flare up from shifts in the night wind. The Woolsey Fire, which has burned close to 100,000 acres and claimed three lives, is expected to be contained by Thanksgiving Day.
"The amount of devastation is humbling, but the amount of houses saved is awesome due to the work before the fire occurred by the residents, and cooperative efforts of the community and firefighters," AFD Capt. Andre de la Reza said last week.
As the convoy of brush trucks and fire engines made their way through the Arizona desert, a husband and wife who came across the Central Texans penned a "love letter" to them.
It read in part: "You are heroes to [so] many of us. While most people are running away from danger, you and law enforcement personnel ... are running into it."