BASTROP COUNTY, Texas - Some of the crews battling the fires in California received training in central Texas at a specialized wildfire academy.
Monday, a memorial service took place as the latest class got underway.
The Capitol Area Interagency Wildfire & Incident Management Academy began Monday with a memorial service. six firefighters and former students who died while on duty between 1990 and 2011 were honored along with six instructors who have passed away.
Mary leathers placed red roses next to small monuments to the fallen, including one for Mike Fisher, her father. Fisher was not only instrumental in starting the Academy he played a critical role in fighting the Bastrop Complex Fire as the head of the county EMA.
"It was hard to look out in the crowd and not see his face, but I know that he is here, and this garden was important to him, to honor what we do,” said Leathers.
The wildfire academy was established 1998 and a year later moved to camp swift. The campus which is located between Bastrop and Elgin has grown. What was a forgotten section of the military installation - now is a major training site - that bears the scars from several control burns.
A little more than 300 students from state, local and federal agencies as well as private companies- are attending the October session. Amarillo district chief Wes hall says about a dozen from his department came down.
"We're really good at fighting house fires, when you get outside the city limits and into the grass, and trees, we don’t have that experience, and that knowledge, so we send our guys done here to go through these classes and learn from the experts and to really increase that knowledge based on Wildland-Urban interface fires,” said Chief Hall.
The techniques being taught here, and not just being used in Texas. Right now in California, there are several individuals on the fire line, working those fires, who went through this Academy.
It's estimated about 10,000 firefighters from California and nearby states are battling the fires.
Strategies which combined ground and air assets yielded some success over the weekend- and are similar to those taught at the academy.
Now a new generation is here- learning how to rush into Harm’s way. A lesson that's includes a warning; answering the Call can also come with a high price.