Dozens of Fresno city, county firefighters help battle growing Maria Fire in SoCal

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Through aggressive aerial attacks and with hundreds of firefighters along the fire lines, crews continue their fight against the many fires raging in Southern California.

Some of those first responders are Fresno city firefighters and CAL FIRE strike teams that are now helping battle the growing Maria Fire.

"The five engines at the Maria Fire have been down in Southern California since the Tick Fire last week," said CAL FIRE Batallion Chief Roger Raines.

CAL FIRE officials in Fresno County say they have a strike team and a dozer team that is helping fight the Maria Fire in Santa Paula, which has burned around 9,000 acres.

Fresno fire officials were also sent to the Maria Fire Thursday night, sending Action News video from the fire lines as they protected homes.

"We met one of the homeowners of the ranch, and as he was leaving, we were going in to protect his structure," said Fresno Fire Capt. Lupe Fernandez.

The Maria Fire is one of more than a dozen fires burning in Southern California. Meanwhile, several more strike teams are in Northern California fighting the Kincade Fire.

Governor Gavin Newsom's office tweeted out Friday, stating that CAL FIRE has put out more than 2,000 fires over the last week.

Battalion Chief Roger Raines says the weather and fire conditions are likely to blame.

"We've been in critical weather pattern even locally since mid-last week, with not only Santa Ana winds, but northern winds in Northern California, and we have our own rounds on the wind here in the Central Valley and the foothills," Raines said.

It's a long battle. Firefighters say they don't know when they'll return home, but knowing they're helping save homes and lives makes the fight worth it.

"Every one of us leaves our home to help somebody else. We all need help at one point in our lives, and these people needed help," Fernandez said.

City firefighters have 12 firefighters down in Southern California, while CAL FIRE has more than 30 from their crew assisting with the firefight.
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