Home just in time for the holiday, the devastation of one of California’s most destructive wildfires is fresh in the mind of one Albuquerque firefighter.
He gives us a glimpse into what he experienced on the front line, and explains why he’s extra thankful this Thanksgiving.
“We didn’t anticipate being home for Thanksgiving, we anticipated being gone until next Monday or Tuesday. I’m very excited to spend time with mom, my brother, my aunts and uncles, my extended family tonight,” said Albuquerque Fire Rescue Lt. Brian Fox.
He got back to Albuquerque just three days ago after spending 10 days in Malibu, California fighting the deadly Woolsey Fire.
“There was one gentleman who didn’t have contact with his family for seven days,” Fox said.
The wildfire has torched more than 96,000 acres, destroyed 1,600 buildings and killed three people.
“We had to go to work in those areas and prevent additional homes from burning,” Fox said.
Fox was one of 24 New Mexico firefighters from six departments across the state that tried to stop the fire from getting even worse.
Crews from Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Corrales, Angel Fire, Sandoval County and Los Alamos traveled to assist.
“It’s non-stop,” Fox said.
What he saw was complete devastation.
“Pockets of fuel that were still igniting around homes and spreading and had potential to jump containment lines,” Fox said.
Even though he’s safe at home counting down the days until Christmas and play-fighting with his 8-year-old son, those still fighting in California are on his heart and mind this Thanksgiving.
“We talked to several different people who lost their homes. They are not going to have the luxury that we have,” Fox said.
Fox says he doesn’t know if he will be returning to California, but there are crews available to do so.
The Woolsey Fire is now 100 percent contained.