Cal Fire prepares for an intense fire season

FRESNO, Calif.

It doesn't take long for a grass fire to spread, but it's situations like this that are giving newly hired Cal Fire firefighters a hands on approach to fighting fires.

Michael Bowman said, "Because of the conditions with Mother Nature now, lack of rain and the continuous drought conditions and the fire activity that we've had up and down the state, it's provoked us to hurry up and go."

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Michael Bowman says now is a crucial time to train seasonal firefighters for the upcoming season. Crews are learning how to battle fires through simulations at Lost Lake Park.

Newly hired firefighter Jacob Wild said, "I've learned a lot being here. It's been a week now that we've been here in training and just everyday is a new experience and something new to learn. The biggest thing is just working with different people."

Firefighters worked in teams to stop fires from spreading using water and even fire itself.

Crews are also learning about fire behavior. That's because fire officials say you never know what Mother Nature will do and fire can quickly shift.

Bowman said, "And then once fires being pushed by the wind it changes everything that we do and we constantly got to be on our toes and our head on a swivel to be able to adapt to that."

The training also gives the firefighters a chance to bond and learn to work together they are in dangerous conditions.

"We don't understand the true meaning of teamwork until we get in this environment or your life depends on it," said Bowman.

The 56 newly hired firefighters will work at stations throughout Fresno County and will be ready for what's already a busy fire season.

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