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Calif. firefighters heading to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey

California Task Force 5, a 45-person team, embarked on a 1,350-mile trek to the AT&T Center

Chris Haire
The Orange County Register

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — A team of Orange County firefighters was on a road trip through the southwestern United States Friday morning, Aug. 25, on their way to San Antonio, Texas, to provide search-and-rescue help during Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey, already declared a Category 3 storm by forecasters, is barreling toward Texas with the strength to flood communities 100 miles inland. Winds could hit 125 mph, and the storm is expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday.

California Task Force 5 – a 45-person team with members from Orange County Fire Authority and the Anaheim and Orange fire departments – left Orange County after midnight Friday on a 1,350-mile trek to the AT&T Center, the home of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team.

The trip was scheduled to take them 18 to 20 hours, said Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority.

The team is able to perform searches over vast areas, Kurtz said in a statement, and provide medical aid and rescue people from “static or swift” water.

“Task Force 5 is made up of highly trained individuals … and are always prepared to respond to disasters locally, statewide and nationally,” said Battalion Chief Mike Petro, the program manager for California Task Force 5. “We are ready to assist the citizens of Texas with our personnel, equipment and expertise.”

The team will join with task forces from Tennessee, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio and Utah, Kurtz said.

The team is expected to make it to San Antonio, with its population of 1.5 million, before the hurricane makes landfall. The storm could be the worst to hit the U.S. in more than a decade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 The Orange County Register