California firefighters stretched thin due to 21 fires burning across the state

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Officials say the thousands of Cal Fire crews across the state are either on a fire or getting ready to head to another one (KFSN)

Cal Fire says a statewide 'lockdown' is now in effect for firefighters because there are so many blazes burning across California. That means crews can't take any time off.

Officials say the thousands of Cal Fire crews across the state are either on a fire or getting ready to head to another one. And with 21 large fires burning across the state, some firefighters say there is no end in sight.

From the northern coastal range to the southern U.S. border, fires are popping up across the state of California at a historic rate. And now, many firefighters working to tame those flames are starting to feel stretched thin.

Ryan Michaels said, "Here in Fresno, you're either on a fire engine right now here locally or you're battling a fire somewhere in the state we don't have a lot of depth in our reserve fleet right now.

Michaels is with the Fresno Cal Fire unit, and he says typically one-third to half of their fleet is on vacation or training. Right now, he says only five-percent of the Fresno force is able to take time away from work.

Michaels added, "After 21 days they will typically give that crew a full 48 hours to really recharge their batteries and then your clock restarts and another 21 days you go.

In total, 8,000 Cal Fire firefighters are working on one of the 21 major fires in California. Michaels says it's not uncommon to work a lot of overtime in the summer -- but never have they dealt with this amount of fire activity before.

"Now our temperatures are cooling off we're seeing more activity outside," said Michaels. "Most of our fires are caused by humans doing something."

Michaels says to make sure they're fully staffed to fight fires in our area. Crews from other counties are here taking the place of the Fresno Cal Fire teams.



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