Texas Churches Help Fight Wildfires

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Several local communities have joined forces to help battle ferocious wild fires that have burned for days in northwest Texas.

Thanks to a group of local churches, more than 38,000 bottles of water went to the front lines where firefighters desperately need them.

"We've had several windy dry hot days just pushed fire along rapidly," one fire official said.

The flames have torched thousands of acres and are keeping firefighters from at least 20 departments busy.

"You have got to be able to help your neighbors, and neighbors have to help you. That's the only way to survive," Levelland Fire Chief Bill Durham said.

Officials with the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church have also been busy, asking emergency workers how they could help them.

"She said water, we need hydration," said Vince Gonzales, disaster response coordinator for the conference.

So church leaders decided they would fill a 16' x 7' trailer with water.

"These firefighters are literally putting their lives on the line," said Shannon Swatzell, a manager with United Supermarkets.

Swatzell decided to help the church with a lot more water than they expected. She doubled what the church purchased.

"They said, 'Sure we can help. How's 38,000 bottles of water?' That was about 1,300 more cases than we expected," Gonzales said.

The church then distributed 22 pallets of water to at least four fire work staging areas.

"And we realize, too, that a lot of these firefighters are volunteers and so this is just an opportunity for us to thank them. Because we cannot thank them enough," Swatzell said.

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