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Central Coast fire departments help with CA wildfires, prioritize local staffing in case of emergency

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Posted at 9:22 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 02:32:43-04

With fires raging throughout California, CAL FIRE has continued to request additional support from local fire departments.

Dozens of Central Coast firefighters are working alongside more than 13,000 firefighters who are battling heat and lightning-sparked wildfires across California.

Officials with the Santa Maria Fire Department said they currently have two engines up in Northern California, but their priority still remains in the Central Coast.

"We've been getting requests every day. We can send out a lot of people but our priority is with Santa Maria and keeping the resources here just to make sure we can staff the city," said Jim Clayton, Battalion Chief of Santa Maria Fire Department.

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire is burning more than 347,000 acres in parts of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, and Yolo counties.

According to KCRA, its the second-largest wildfire in state history in those counties.

Local city fire departments have joined in the efforts across the state to help contain the flames.

"We've called back every firefighter and uniform personnel who can come staff reserve engines, we've called them back to duty.. some people have even given up their vacation time to come back to work,"
said Adan Orozco, a CAL FIRE SLO spokesman.

According to CAL FIRE SLO, the agency has sent 10 fire engines across the state both in Northern and Southern counties.

Battalion Chief Clayton said he anticipates his crew will be out on fire lines for about 21 days, but also he worries about the well-being of the firefighters.

"Worried about the health and well being of staff to make sure that they're mentally not burned out and are able to do their job here and still keep morale high," he said.

To avoid that burnout, he said crews will be rotated every 14 days.

Morro Bay, Paso Robles, and the city of San Luis Obispo are a few of the local fire departments that have been sent out to help with containment.