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'It's actually unseasonably dry right now': Texas A&M foresters travel to California to fight wildfires

WFAA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth logo WFAA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth 7/16/2021 Tiffany Liou

More than 70 Texas A&M Forest Service personnel are fighting wildfires in the western states. That includes Austin Morrison, a district forester in the San Augustine area.

"I'm just outside of Mammoth Lake, California," said Morrison. "It's really hot, really dry. It's actually unseasonably dry right now." 

He said the wildfires in that area of Inyo National Forest near the California-Nevada border are starting earlier than normal this year.

"They are preparing for a really bad fire season," he said.

Friday marked Morrison and his crews 14th day on assignment, working 15 or more hours a day on the Dexter Fire. They report at 5:00 each morning and some days are longer than others. 

"Yesterday, right at the end of the day, we got a spot fire that we went and attacked so it was a little later than normal, but it's part of the job," he said.

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This is Morrison's first out-of-state assignment in the five years he's been with Texas A&M Forest Service, but he's helped with incidents across Texas. 

He describes the last two weeks in California as a humbling experience. 

"They send people out-of-state to help our neighbors who so often come to our aid when we have extreme dry conditions. [...] They're very good people here. They have been through so much, wildfire season after wildfire season."

In a few days, Morrison will fly back to Texas to his family, and different crews will rotate in to continue assisting in California.

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