San Diego crews joining firefight throughout California - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego crews joining firefight throughout California

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Fire crews from the San Diego area are helping their counterparts in San Luis Obispo County battle the nearly 29-thousand-acre Alamo Fire. It's the largest of 14 wildfires burning across the state. 

On Saturday, engines and crews from the Alpine Fire Protection District, Heartland Fire and Rescue and the Barona, Santee, Sycuan and Viejas fire departments left to battle the blaze. Two teams made up of personnel from Chula Vista, Coronado, Poway and San Diego joined the fight Sunday.

On Saturday, a Central Zone Strike team left to battle the large wildfire with brush engines and crews from Alpine Fire Protection District, Santee Fire Department, Viejas Fire Department, Barona Fire Department and Sycuan Fire Department, and a strike team leader from Heartland Fire Rescue.

At 6 a.m. Sunday, two Metro Zone Strike Teams headed out to join the fight against the central-California blaze. Those strike teams included six engines from San Diego Fire-Rescue Department along with engines from Poway Fire Department, Chula Vista Fire Department, Coronado Fire Department and San Diego-based federal firefighters, SDFRD spokeswoman Monica Munoz said.

"We were notified last night of the need of the additional strike teams and at that point the planning process started," said Battalion Chief Willy Melendez. "The 44 people that we sent up have already been re-back filled as there is not a break of service within the city of San Diego or the metro zone." 

The Lakeside Fire Department also tweeted Sunday  that it was sending an engine and crews to help battle the blaze.

"Our engine crews assigned to these Strike Teams are responding as part of the statewide mutual aid system, and they possess the experience and training to support the current fire suppression effort in San Luis Obispo," SDFRD Chief Brian Fennessy said.

Each SDFRD engine consists of four crew members "providing leadership, communications and paramedic support," Munoz said. Three of the SDFRD engines are Type 1 and used primarily for defending structures. The other three are Type 3 brush engines designed for controlling the perimeter of a wildfire. Each of the two strike teams is led by a battalion chief and a trainee.

Fennessy said the statewide mutual-aid system that has San Diego-area crews headed north has benefited the San Diego region in the past and will again in the future.

"The State of California has the most robust and functional mutual aid system in the world," the chief said. "We fully support and regularly contribute to this system. As history has demonstrated many times in the past, we will at some point in the future count on this statewide system to provide San Diego the mutual aid support it needs."

The Alamo Fire, which began Thursday, has prompted several evacuations in San Luis Obispo County, Cal Fire reported. It had burned 28,926 acres with just 15 percent containment as of 7:30 Monday morning and is the largest of 14 wildfires that more than 5,000 firefighters are currently battling across the state.

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