Local fire departments assisting in wildfires, preparing for search and rescue missions

EMBED </>More Videos

Local fire departments are preparing to send their urban search and rescue teams to help look for bodies. More than 200 people are still unaccounted for.

As if local 911 calls weren't already keeping the Fresno Fire Department busy, there's now a mounting need for these same firefighters to respond on a statewide level. The department has already dispatched 28 personnel to assist with the Camp and Woolsey Fires, leaving it with only two engines left to spare.

"We don't want to be away from home, but if duty calls we have a duty to act," said Captain Mike Rangel.

Fire departments from Tulare County to Merced County have sent manpower across the state this week to keep up with the demand. Captain Rangel with Fresno Fire is already back-filling for another firefighter at Station 1. He's also on the standby list, prepared to be among the next wave of Fresno firefighters dispatched to some of the most devastating fires in Californian history.

"If that means us going to other communities and helping them to ensure that they are safe for the holidays then we will do that as well," Captain Rangel.

Nicole Maul with Fresno's Red Cross has been in Ventura County assisting the Woolsey Fire the past five days. She says it's hard to meet anyone who's been untouched by the devastation. Many of her fellow volunteers were evacuated themselves.

"It's never easy and especially for this community. We are coming up on the one year of the Thomas Fire and a lot of our volunteers were affected by that."

Firefighters say even though the Valley has been safe so far this month, we can learn valuable lessons from the loss of life across California.

'Our first instinct is to try and stand our ground, save our family obviously. The best advice I can give to anybody is to take heed to the warning
Related Topics:
wildfireCamp Firefirecal fireNorthern CaliforniaLos Angeles County
(Copyright ©2018 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)