LOWER LAKE, Calif. – Firefighters all around San Diego County are headed north to help out in nearly a dozen wildfires burning in Northern California.
“On the first day the fire grew about 20,000 acres and then doubled over night,” said San Diego Fire-Rescue Captain Jason Shanley. “They’re saying this behavior is unprecedented fire behavior.”
Shanley is a firefighter with station 29 in San Ysidro. He’s been sent up to the Rocky Fire to serve as one of several information officers working the front line of the Rocky Fire. The fire is burning in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco.
The Rocky Fire is the largest of 21 wildfires currently torching northern California. It’s burned some 60,000 acres and is only 12% contained.
Shanley told FOX 5 for many San Diego crews working the fire the biggest challenge is terrain.
“Manipulating the terrain, this is hard. It’s very, very steep hills,” said Shanley. “Everybody’s tired, I mean you work 24 hours in an environment like this with one day off, it’s real taxing.”
More than 9,000 firefighers are battling the flames. Some 200 are from the San Diego Region. CalFire San Diego has about 8 to 9 strike teams, in addition to 120 inmates working as hand crews.
The strike teams are firefighters from various San Diego stations including Chula Vista, Escondido and San Diego.
“Out here we have acres and acres of land with no houses around it, the type of conditions are unlike what we see in SD,” said Shanley.
He said San Diego’s crews are more than familiar when it comes to wildfire and are prepared to take on whatever comes their way.
“We train and train as hard as we can just like everyone else does, you kind of just lean on your training when stuff like that happens,” said Shanley.
CalFire said most of the fires are more than 60% contained, but the damage has been significant.