Twenty North Texas firefighters returned home Wednesday after traveling 1,400 miles to California to help fight massive wildfires.
They slept in tents and worked 12-hour shifts – and even a 24-hour shift – in the Los Angeles area.
"Our objectives were to give some relief to those crews that have been working for several days on end,” said Fort Worth firefighter Cody Stilwell.
Back in Texas, anxious family members waited and worried.
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"I'm pretty used to him going, but this one was a whole lot tougher,” said Cody Stilwell’s wife, Jenny.
The firefighters were from five departments that make up Task Force 9.
"It was very humbling,” said Fort Worth firefighter Brant Frazier. "We were right in the middle of all of it. Numerous homes. Million-dollar homes. Multi-million dollar homes. All the way to the littlest shed you could see, the devastation was incredible."
Everywhere they went, they said Californians were appreciative.
"Very receptive,” said Little Elm Batallion Chief Clint Long. “(They) couldn't believe we came all the way from Texas to help them."
And now they're home, just in time for Thanksgiving.
"So the empty seat's going to be filled,” Jenny Stilwell said.
Task Force 9 includes Fort Worth, Weatherford, Parker County ESD 1, Little Elm and Somervell County.