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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Local News: City of Tracy Firefighters on the ZACA Fireline

Tracy crews fight southland blaze

Source: Tracy Press

Bob Brownne Monday, 09 July 2007

Local firefighters are again leaving the county to help fight a fire, this time a brushfire in Santa Barbara.

Three Tracy firefighters were called over the weekend to help contain one of Southern California’s wildfires.

Division Chief David Bramell said a crew from Station 97 at Central Avenue and Tracy Boulevard headed to Santa Barbara County on Saturday afternoon to help with the Zaca Fire, which as of Monday evening had burned 9,500 acres of brushland northeast of Buellton.

Bramell said the crew took an engine from Station 94 at Schulte and Hansen roads, which receives many of the calls for brush fires in the farms and hills west of Tracy. He said the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and California Department of Forestry, also known as Cal Fire, called five departments from San Joaquin County and asked for engines suitable for steep, rocky terrain.

Bramell said crews typically work for 12 hours at a time and will stay until the lead agencies, Santa Barbara County and Cal Fire, in this case, release them.

"They don’t know what their assignment is going to be until they arrive," Bramell said. "I know this group was assigned to protect structures."

Cal Fire reported that 22 homes were threatened at Zaca Lake Resort, the Figueroa Area Campgrounds and near Manzana Creek. Only one outbuilding was reported destroyed in the fire.

The fire started July 4 and was about 30 percent contained as of Monday evening. The Tracy firefighters are among 1,756 personnel assigned to this blaze.

Cal Fire also reported that a contract helicopter crashed Sunday afternoon at the Figueroa Helibase. Two people on the helicopter survived the crash, and Cal Fire reported that their injuries were minor.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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