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Strike teams deploy to fight River Fire in Mariposa County

California Wildfires
Posted at 12:35 AM, Jul 13, 2021

The River Fire doubled to 8,000 acres overnight in Mariposa County, prompting an additional request for firefighters and equipment.

"When it comes to these large scale fires you're pulling in numerous assets, not just fire engines but people who have specially trained assignment capabilities," said Five Cities Fire Chief Steve Lieberman.

Lieberman says if a situation becomes too complex for one fire station to handle on their own, they seek help from neighboring agencies.

"Yesterday Cal Fire sent a strike team to the River Fire in Mariposa County and today because the fire has grown so much there was an additional request for resources from our county and an additional strike team left," said Lieberman.

That additional strike team includes engines from Five Cities Fire, Atascadero, San Miguel, Camp Roberts and San Luis Obispo city fire departments.

"So our primary responsibility is to take care of the communities that we're sworn to protect and yes, we sent our folks out today. We have a call for off-duty personnel to come back in to fill those staffing voids in the stations and by tomorrow we'll be back at our normal staffing levels," said Lieberman.

San Luis Obispo City Fire also answered the call for help.

"So the city of San Luis Obispo Fire Department Engine 6 joined Five Cities Fire Department along with other fire departments in our county to form up and join a strike team to go fight the River Fire, which is burning in the Central Sierras," said San Luis Obispo City Fire Public Information Officer James Blattler.

Blattler says the team was dispatched out to the River Fire shortly before noon Monday.

"San Luis Obispo City Engine 6 along with the other engines in that strike team are committed to that incident until the incident doesn't need them anymore. So the duration of assignments can sometimes typically last up to two weeks it can be extended if needed, but typically we'll see fire crews dispatched out for usually no more than two weeks at a time," said Blattler.