County has 66 firefighters at Yosemite fire


The firefighting crews battling the huge forest fire burning into Yosemite National Park include 66 firefighters from San Mateo County.

Three strike teams -- north, central and south county -- consist of five engine companies each, or 22 firefighters and five fire engines. The teams left for the fire on Friday, Aug. 23, Woodside Fire Protection District Chief Dan Ghiorso said.

Woodside Fire is represented with one company, but the Menlo Park Fire Protection District is not represented, perhaps due to a shortage of staff, Chief Ghiorso said.

When a firefighting agency deploys firefighters to a remote location, the agency "hires back" off-duty firefighters to fill in the temporary gaps in the local forces, Chief Ghiorso said.

The Redwood City Fire Department, which recently absorbed firefighters from San Carlos, contributed two companies to the south-county strike team, he said.

A team from the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services deployed early and was already on the scene, he said.

Companies stay together on the job, whether attacking the fire itself, protecting structures or creating fire breaks, Chief Ghiorso said.

The work-schedule goal for firefighters at the scene is roughly 24 hours on, 24 off, but since firefighting tends to cut into the off time, the hours are more like 28 on, 20 off, the chief said.

Every day, the engine-company captain calls the home district or fire department to report on what's happening, Chief Ghiorso said. So far, there have been no injuries, he said.

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Like this comment
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

God bless these firefighters for the dangerous work they do. We are so grateful to them.

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