Valley Firefighters Battle Fires Across California

Fresno, CA Fresno's airport has been busy. Aircraft are landing here to quickly reload fire retardant. Pilot Tim Christy flies an air tanker that's been in the air these last few days battling the Big Meadow Fire. He describes maneuvering in Yosemite's tricky terrain, "Being that it is in that big valley, it's a pretty deep going down kinda experience for that type of flying." Christy did take advantage of being far above one of the county's most beautiful national parks, "I pointed to my copilot and pointed out the window. He took a quick look. Yea we were flying next to El Capitan."

Within minutes of this interview, Christy started his engines. His next assignment- the Station Fire in Los Angeles. Christy was dispatched from Fresno's Interagency Command Center. Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service coordinate local crews from this emergency center located at the airport. Captain Ron Eldrige tells me- they're ready to handle any major wildfire locally despite valley manpower sent elsewhere, "Once some of those resources go out to different fires, we back fill behind those resources, so we are never caught not having enough resources to be able to deal with out own emergencies if it arises."

Cal Fire is constantly rotating crews from the airport. Tuesday morning more planes and helicopters are scheduled to be dispatched from the airport.

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