Local strike team returns from battling Kincade Fire

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SAN DIEGO — A strike team from San Diego County returned home late Thursday night after spending nearly a week battling the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.

The team, made up of crews from San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado and Imperial Beach fire departments, left home Saturday afternoon.

“As soon as the call came out we were on the road,” said Captain Ehren Kahle with Imperial Beach Fire and Rescue Department. 

Along with the flames, they were up against extreme weather conditions, including 40 to 60 mph winds and overnight lows dipping into the 30s, Kahle told FOX 5.

“We had fire blowing laterally to the earth, we had zero visibility at times,” Kahle said. “My engineer had a hard time driving. There were times where we couldn’t see the road.”

Firefighters had a close call on Sunday, Kahle said, when the winds brought down oak trees blocking not one, but two of their escape routes. They used a chainsaw to clear the road.

One Imperial Beach firefighter missed his daughter’s first time trick-or-treating.

“We were all getting texts and pictures from our kids. We all have kids,” Nick Morales said. “But when you sign up to be a part of this career, this is what you have to do.”

The Kincade Fire had burned more than 77,000 acres and hundreds of homes and buildings Friday night. It was 70% contained.

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