Creek Fire: Marines and sailors begin work on fire fight

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The weapons Marines and sailors are carrying into the battle against the Creek Fire are among the many differences that make this mission unique.

Corporal Phillip Kitchens says, "For us particularly, we're motor transport operators so we're driving trucks every day and then coming into training and having to wear this gear. It's really different, honestly. It's a completely different set of skills, it's not easy."

The members of the 7th Engineer Support Battalion out of Camp Pendleton spent the morning hours cutting into hot spots on the ground to prevent them from flaring up into new fires near North Fork.

RELATED: RELATED: Creek Fire: Marines, sailors arrive to assist with fire fight

Lance Corporal Andrew Munoz says he expected to be closer to the flames but is thankful for the opportunity to help increase containment and make this area safer for residents.

Munoz says, "I was really excited. I volunteered to do this. That's why I joined the Marine Corps; I just did it for my country, and this is part of it so I'm really happy I could do this."

The servicemembers spent about a week training before one last walk through and a pep talk from their master sergeant, who is a Fresno native.

Master Sergeant Juan Guillien told the group, "I'm extremely proud of you guys and appreciate everything you're doing so keep it on, alright?"

Now they're prepared to stay on the front lines for as long as needed.

"It's amazing. It's incredible. We're honored to have them here. We need all the support we can get and it has really exciting to see that they're here," says North Fork business owner Lisa Saryoan-Laurence.

The servicemembers are split into groups of 20 with one sailor assigned to each team for medical support.

They are planning on day shifts and night shifts but say they are ready to adapt as needed.

Click here for the latest stories, videos from the Creek Fire.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.