H-CENTRAL COAST

Aug 29, 2013 7:22 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Central Coast firefighters battling Rim Fire

The Rim Fire continues to burn near Yosemite National Park, devouring everything in its path, and many of the firefighters on the front lines are from the Central Coast.

More than 9,000 firefighters are currently battling the blaze, including 30 from Santa Barbara County. Agencies from San Miguel, Morro Bay, Atascadero, CAL FIRE, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and the Five Cities have also been sent to help.

"When we get the call we hit the ground running," said Division Chief John Richardson.

From the air and the ground, more than 100 firefighters from the Central Coast have descended on the Rim Fire.

Anouck La Bris, a tanker pilot stationed in Paso Robles, returned Wednesday.

"A fire like that, it's so big you see these huge mushroom clouds of smoke," said La Bris.

For her eyes and ears, she depends on people like Division Chief John Richardson flying a lead plane.

"We'll go low level right down with the tankers there, give them a target. We have smoke that comes off the wing here," explained Richardson.

According to CAL FIRE, the blaze has consumed about 200,000. That's a little more than 300 square miles.

"You see high land flame, building size, just a wall of flame coming. It's just an incredible site," said La Bris.

Steve Knuckles, strike team leader from Morro Bay, is on the ground there now and says the terrain is treacherous.

"We have probably the majority of the fire is inaccessible. It is a mountainous region, so with the roads and topography, it is a tough fight for firefighters," said Knuckles.

More than 100 structures have been burned.

CAL FIRE says there have been four injuries although the cause of those injuries has not been released.

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