Fresno firefighters sent to Silver Fire in Riverside County

August 8, 2013 2:47:00 PM PDT
More than 80 valley firefighters were up near Huntington Lake working on the Aspen Fire when they were immediately diverted down to Southern California, and it's possible, even more crews will be sent south to help battle the Silver Fire, raging in Riverside County.

Cal Fire and Fresno County fire fighters keep track of their crews through a huge, sprawling white board. It operates like a large puzzle. They have to juggle those who are on vacation, those who need to backfill positions, and those who need to be sent to one of the fires listed on this board.

The workforce is more than just those who are on the front lines. Captain Ryan Michaels of Cal Fire and Fresno County Fire says "safety officers and division group supervisors, people setting up the base camp, line EMT's."

The Silver Fire in Riverside County caught everyone off guard, moving so quickly and with so much intensity that Valley Cal Fire and Fresno County Fire stations were flooded with requests for help.

"Several people were given phone calls and said you're not going home tomorrow because of operational need," Michaels said.

When those firefighters get on scene in Southern California they're considered "fresh," meaning they are ready to immediately get to work, even if they had just come from another fire.

"There's no regard to where you were yesterday, how much sleep you had and what the situation the new fires dictate how we need to respond and those emergencies," Michaels said.

Michaels says it's what they're trained for and the summer season is often like this, but the biggest challenge is making sure there are enough people here locally, should we have our own emergency.

"We need to keep a good balance between how many resources we're sending, where they're going and what we have here available to us," Michaels said.

Crews at the Emergency Command Center also ask that everyone remain fire safe and be mindful of the valley's dry conditions, especially while resources are stretched thin.


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