Fire departments in the San Joaquin Valley are sending firefighters and equipment to Southern California to fight the wildfires ravaging Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
From Mariposa to Kern counties, local fire departments and Cal Fire have sent about 50 fire engines and 230 people to Southern California, said Region 5 Cal Fire Capt. Tim Gehret in Fresno.
“We pretty much stripped the greater Fresno area” of as much equipment and personnel as Cal Fire and local departments could spare, he said. Most of the equipment is owned by the local departments, but some is owned by the state Office of Emergency Services, he said.
Cal Fire in Fresno County sent two bulldozers, 10 engines and firefighters, and four inmate crews.
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The Fresno Fire Department sent four engines, a water tender and about 21 firefighters, said fire department spokesman Hector Vasquez. Which fires they’ll be fighting is being determined by local command centers, he said.
The Visalia Fire Department sent an engine and five people to the Thomas Fire, while the Tulare County Fire Department sent a fire engine and three smaller rigs known as patrol units, and about 15 people, to the Valencia Fire.
Fire departments in every county in Region 5 are helping in some fashion, even if they aren’t sending personnel and equipment to Southern California, Gehret said.
The Fresno County Fire Protection District sent five engines and a bulldozer to Cal Fire stations in Fresno County to fill in for Cal Fire firefighters and engines sent to Southern California.