MCKINNEY, Texas — Fourteen-thousand firefighters continue to battle more than two-dozen fires across the state of California. These are some of the largest wildfires the state has seen.
Without asking, I knew firefighters from North Texas would drive to the west coast to help. Texans do what they do best by volunteering. A few quick calls proved true. Dozens of firefighters from Texas are already in California saving homes and saving lives.
I spoke with Quincy Blount, a firefighter-paramedic with the McKinney Fire Department. He and three firemen from McKinney were driving to the SCU Lightning Complex Fire when we jumped on a video call.
When he told me where he was going to be working 24-hour operations, I explained to him why this meant so much to me.
That's where I grew up and spent more than two decades of my life. The East and South Bay Area of Northern California is where a lot of my friends and family live. My parents and my aunt are in an evacuation warning area. Some of my closest friends and their families are too. All their bags are packed as they wonder if the warning will turn into an evacuation order.
I worry about my childhood friend who works for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. He's been evacuating people and protecting homes from looters. He sent me photos where he can see flames.
The other day, I was on the phone with my mom and she told me her throat is hurting, even inside the house. The heavy smoke is seeping through the windows and doors. The air quality is awful.
So as I was writing my story, it felt too personal to be a "news" story. This is why I'm writing it as an "opinion" piece.
My family is thankful for the firefighters out there, and so am I.
Quincy told me McKinney firefighters teamed up with firefighters from Frisco, Plano, Parker County, Weatherford, Lubbock, Lewisville and Fort Worth. They're part of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System. Their generous hearts are a prime example of why I am so proud to live in Texas.
Thank you, Quincy.
Thank you, firefighters, for stepping away from your family and friends in Texas to help mine in California.