Valley counties to get extra firefighting resources amid brutal heat wave

It's one of the largest ever efforts by the state to bolster county fire departments.

Alyssa Flores Image
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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Tulare and Kings County are among the 12 county departments that are getting extra engines, water tankers, hand crews and other resources.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's dry and incredibly hot right now in California - perfect conditions for fires to start and quickly spread.

That's why state officials are sending additional firefighting resources to departments across California.

It's one of the largest ever efforts by the state to bolster county fire departments.

Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman is grateful for extra help on hand amid the hottest days of the year.

"This puts everything in position to where if we do have any initial or rapid starts we can get resources on the road," says Norman.

Tulare and Kings County are among the 12 county departments that are getting extra engines, water tankers, hand crews and other resources.

They'll all be on the ready for the next few days.

With potentially record-breaking temperatures...twice as many fire crews are needed to get a job done.

Firefighters need breaks more often to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Right now, there are over 4,000 firefighters working to contain wildfires across the state.

"With everybody in their protective clothing, body temperatures go up very, very quickly," says Norman.

Tulare County Fire says when the weather gets this hot, they see an influx of day-to-day incidents, many of which are not fire related.

"Our medical aid calls have gone up 30% during this heat wave - just heat-related illness and injury," says Norman.

CAL FIRE officials also say humans are another big risk factor for wildfires - especially a concern as many spend their Labor Day weekend outdoors.

"95% of wildfire starts are caused by humans. All of us have the ability to prevent those fire starts," says Norman.

On Sunday alone, 45 new wildland fires were sparked.

So with more intense weather ahead, it will likely be a busy next few days for California firefighters.