CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Eighteen Chula Vista firefighters are helping Cal Fire get a handle on the nearly two dozen major wildfires burning across California.
Cal Fire said Friday that nearly 17,000 firefighters were battling 23 major wildfires in the state, which have left 31 people dead and nearly 8,000 structures destroyed.
According to Cal Fire, since the start of 2020, more than 8,200 wildfires haves burned well over 3.9 acres in California. Currently, more than 53,000 residents are evacuated.
“This is a year like we’ve never seen before,” Chula Vista Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Darrell Robert said.
Roberts spent 21 days helping Cal Fire battle three wildfires in southern and central California. He recently returned home to Chula Vista. His strike team was made up of firefighters from Chula Vista, San Diego and Poway. At the time, hundreds of wildfires were burning across the state.
“We were traveling literally the state of California,” Roberts said.
The strike team took on a number of roles including protecting structures, joining Cal Fire’s helicopter team, working as paramedics and offering COVID 19 support.
“The overall magnitude of this year is completely different because it seems like there’s no end in sight,” Roberts said.
Currently, Chula Vista firefighters are working on seven fires across California including the Bobcat Fire burning in the San Gabriel mountains, the Castle Fire burning near Kernville and the Creek Fire located in eastern Fresno and Madera counties.
A Chula Vista battalion chief along with firefighters from San Diego, National City and Imperial Beach are moving to the Glass Fire that has destroyed more than 61 thousand acres in Napa and Sonoma Counties.