Coalinga's airspace taken over by crews trying to contain an endless stream of wildfires

EMBED </>More Videos

It's only the beginning of a long, hot summer-- and already Cal Fire dispatchers have sent crews to Coalinga for a fifth time. (KFSN)

It's only the beginning of a long, hot summer-- and already Cal Fire dispatchers have sent crews to Coalinga for a fifth time.

Tim Gehret oversees the Cal Fire emergency command center, where every day resources are shifted to cover new demands. This year, many of those fires have been local.

"It's the busiest July I've ever had personally."

With many of the fires beginning in rural areas, where terrain is steep and inaccessible, a bigger burden is being placed on air attack.

"Aircraft sometimes will go to five or six different fires, and visit five or six different bases in one day," said John Harpain, U.S. Forest Service.

With new fires starting every day, it's often up to air tankers to snuff them out before they grow out of control. So far the U.S. Forest Service has loaded up 135,000 gallons of retardant in the Fresno area alone.

"Lately, we've been catching the fires small, at the early stages, so it's been about half a dozen drops maybe," said Harpain.

Several Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service aircraft are currently fighting near Avenal, where the Garza fire just burned through 30,000 acres. The area is so hard to reach that even pictures from firefighters are only from a distance.

"Once the fire takes a foothold in these types of terrain, it just burns very well and it is difficult to get containment on it," said Gehret.

Firefighters may still have their hands full in Avenal, but they are already preparing for another call to this area.

Related Topics:
newswildfirefresno countyfireCoalinga
(Copyright ©2017 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments
FRESNO COUNTY
More fresno county

NEWS
More News

Top Stories
Show More