Firefighters in California battle major brush fire

A brush fire that broke out on May 2 has prompted Los Angeles officials to order the evacuation of hundreds of homes and a university campus. Reuters reports that the flames from the primary blaze took out several recreational vehicles and has made its way near neighborhoods in the greater metropolitan area. Another smaller fire is located 80 miles away to the east of the main outcropping of flames and destroyed two homes and damaged others before firefighters were able to calm the spread.

The news source reports that the subdivision of Dos Vientos, which contains hundreds of homes, was placed under mandatory evacuation orders, as well as the California State University at Channel Islands campus. As of Wednesday afternoon, Fox News reported that the fire had already consumed 1,500 acres of land. According to a Riverside County Fire Department release that same evening, the fire had spread to more than 2,950 acres. By that time fire fighters had the blaze only 35 percent contained.

Despite the threat the fire posed, many locals were not worried about it making its way to their property.

"I'm not worried because of all of the firemen here working to put it out," said Rodrigo De Leon, a ranch hand for a property with several horses on the outskirts of Mountain drive, at the edge of the fire, reports the Daily Breeze.

Strike teams and fire fighters from the San Bernardino County Fire, Los Angeles County Fire, Orange County Fire, Cal Fire, Chino Valley Fire, Rancho Cucamonga Fire and San Antonio Heights Fire were deployed to the area, according to the news source.

The fire originally started near San Gorgonio Road  on Summit Drive in Banning.

Officials were warned of the possibility of a seasonal brush fire outbreak by the National Weather Service. The agency issued a red-flag warning for extreme fire danger for most of southern California on May 1.

The Daily Breeze reports that temperatures in the area had reached the 80s and winds coming from the East were pegged at 29 miles per hour. The wind speed worried fire fighters who were concerned that the blaze would continue to travel to the nearby community of Beaumont.

According to comments made by officials, each of the departments included in the efforts to contain the blaze have collaborated before, both in training ventures and practical applications. Brush fires are an unfortunate, but common, occurrence in parts of southern California.

The combined efforts and superior training of firefighters have so far allowed the damage caused by the flames to be minimal. Large training scenarios regarding evacuation strategies for communities in the area and containment training have so far allowed firefighters to handle the situation with skill. In this situation, fire fighters and strike crews were trained to use water-dropping helicopters and air tankers to drop fire-retardant liquid on the flames and surrounding areas.

More than 400 fire fighters were at the scene, yet only one sustained slight injuries, according to the news source. The collaborative efforts and training drills the departments have received allowed fire fighters and strike crews to remain safe throughout the containment process. When a blaze quickly spreads, like this one, which jumped from 150 acres to 1,700 acres between 2:20 and 6:10 p.m., training is imperative for the safety of everyone involved. With such a large expanse of ground to cover, fire department and public safety officials need to know who in their agency is trained to handle set procedures. This better allows a fire chief to assign a fire fighter to the right detail and decrease the risk of something going wrong.

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2013-06-28T09:17:12+00:00 May 8th, 2013|Public Safety, Readiness|