LONGVIEW, Texas — It's been a busy summer for the Longview Fire Department.
Their crews have been deployed all across the state as drought-like conditions have set Texas ablaze.
Craig Barton is a Longview firefighter paramedic and Hallsville fire chief. Barton recently returned from a 15-day deployment.
"Since December, I have been out on three deployments," Barton said.
Kevin May, Longview fire marshal, said firefighters deployed for either wildland firefighting or water rescue must first learn the ropes.
"All these guys go through extensive training for that discipline and then they get accepted to be part of these deployable teams," May said.
The four firefighters available for deployment, hop in the booster truck and head to their next destination.
"All four of us in there, (have) everything we need to live with for 14 days and a bag," Barton said.
But the one thing they miss the most, can't fit in a bag. Barton said he misses his family while deployed.
Nonetheless, the crew headed out on what he considered one of the hottest battles he's endured in his 33 years of firefighting.
"The temperatures were just outrageous," Barton said. "We had five days of 112 degrees."
Through the extensive heat and being away from home, the crews say it's a get-together.
"I can probably speak for every firefighter," Barton said. "It's like a reunion with guys you don't see on a regular basis."
He said it's great for all of them to come together to work.
"It's just a big friendship," Barton said.
Barton said in all of his deployments, the local communities are always lending a helping hand.
"I have never been on a deployment where multiple people aren't giving out water, offering meals," Barton said. "They're extremely grateful when we come to these towns."
May said the city has experienced more grass and wild fires this year than average due to the ongoing dry conditions. He wants to remind residents that Gregg County is still under a burn ban.
"It's so important that people understand that right now even doing a barbecue pit has started multiple fires in the city," May said.
He wants residents to be mindful of disposing cigarettes and not dragging chains along the roads during this time.