Local crews working around the clock to battle wildfires across California

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Over 10,000 firefighters are working to put out blazes across the state and many are from the Valley - some have been working for more than 30 days straight. (KFSN)

Over 10,000 firefighters are working to put out blazes across the state and many are from the Valley - some have been working for more than 30 days straight.

For Cal Fire, assigning personnel and resources during fire season is like a game of chess.

"If a new fire pops, what will happen is those coordination centers will talk to the incident commanders for these fires and say, 'We have a new fire, is there anything you can give up,'" Batt. Chief Matt Dunham with Cal Fire said.

That's what happened after the Mineral Fire near Coalinga as crews were sent to new fires.

Local assignments can be seen on the status board at the Emergency Command Center in Fresno.

In fact, every agency and department in Central California have multiple engines and personnel assigned to fires right now.

"Like Cal Fire, we've locked all our personnel on duty," Dunham said. "Our days off have been canceled, all hands are on deck working."

Whether they're assigned to a wildfire or assigned locally to deal with day-to-day fires, overtime has become the new norm with five years of drought and tree mortality.
And the seasonal firefighters who once worked six months out of the year are now working nine months.

"You can be paid over time, but, on the other hand, too, you're not going home, you're not seeing your family," Dunham said. "We have people that are out in excess of 30 plus days right now just due to the amount of activity we've had."

Although it wears on them physically and emotionally, they know it's what being a firefighter is all about.

"But that's the job we signed up for and that's what we're willing to do," Dunham said.
Related Topics:
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