ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In the week since the Mesquite Heat fire was first ignited south of Abilene, first responders across the Big Country stepped up and worked up to 20 hours per shift to help contain and put out the wildfire. Wednesday, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) met with some of the first responders, who risked their safety to help protect Taylor County residents, to thank them.

Rep. Arrington was briefed Wednesday morning on the progress of the Mesquite Heat fire. He was met by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), along with Taylor County Sheriff Ricky Bishop, ECCA Fire Chief Gary Young and Chief Deputy Craig Griffis (Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, or TCSO).

In meeting with county officials and more first responders, Rep. Arrington thanked them for their hard work.

“Thank you to our brave first responders for protecting our communities from the wildfires that have blazed across the Big Country since last Tuesday,” said Rep. Arrington. “After today’s visit, I am reminded of God’s promise of how beauty always rises from the ashes. As these heroes fight to contain this fire fully, please join me in praying for those who have suffered loss. God bless the Big Country, and God Bless our first responders!”

The Mesquite Heat fire began the evening of Tuesday, May 17. As of 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, the fire was 10,960 acres in size, with 63% containment, as according to updates from TCSO.