TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Two Florida firefighting crews that were deployed to help put out wildfires in western states have returned home.
These crews were from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service and helped to battle the Halstead fire and the Mustang Complex fire, both in Idaho.
Since June 1, the Florida Forest Service has sent 155 personnel to California, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Oklahoma and Virginia, according to a release from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
During this deployment to Idaho, 36 wildland firefighters were up against rough terrain and freezing temperatures that went as low as 19 degrees.
"All of our hard work paid off. We drew on our training and experiences battling wildfires in the South to defend the area of Spring Creek until the last second and saved every home in the community," said Anthony Douglass, wildland firefighter from the Florida Forest Service Caloosahatchee District.
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam said that the firefighters not only assisted in protecting property and human life, they also gained knowledge.
"Assisting our partners out West with wildfire suppression efforts is a priority of the Department," Putnam said. "While the safety of lives and structures is of the utmost importance, the knowledge and experiences our wildland firefighters bring home makes us a stronger firefighting organization."
First Coast News