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Santa Monica Firefighters Battling Two Major Fires
 

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By Jorge Casuso

October 30, 2019 -- Santa Monica firefighters have been helping battle raging wildfires near their own back yard and hundreds of miles north in wine country.

For the third day, the Fire Department sent two engine companies in shifts to fight the Getty fire that as of early Wednesday morning had burned 735 acres and led to an order to evacuate more than 7,000 homes.

Extreme red flag warnings were issued Wednesday as wind gusts were expected to reach 70 miles per hour while humidity plummeted to near zero.

The Department also has deployed two engine companies to help fight the Kincade fire in Sonoma County that has scorched more than 76,000 acres and is expected to continue burning for weeks.

The companies stationed at the Kincade fire are engaged in "structure triage/defense, perimeter control, mopping up hot spots (and) keeping fire from crossing control lines," SMFD reported on its Facebook page Wednesday.

"Crews report they are doing well and their families are doing well while they are away on the firelines," the department wrote at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The "mutual aid" deployments have no impact on emergency services in Santa Monica, said Constance Farrell, the City's public information officer.

"There is no interruption to emergency services to the Santa Monica community during strike team deployments as backfill crews were immediately called into service to staff reserve apparatus," Farrell said.

As part of the California Mutual Aid System, the SMFD helps combat large fires and other emergencies that require extra forces.

During mutual aid requests, strike teams that consist of five engine companies and a battalion chief are deployed for between 7 and 14 days, according to fire officials.

Santa Monica firefighters are part of a strike team that includes fire departments from Beverly Hills, Culver City and Los Angeles, fire officials said.

The strike teams are deployed about three to five times a year.

SMFD "has been on the front lines making a difference in some of the most devastating fires in California’s history," Fire Capt. Patrick Nulty wrote in the August edition of Seascape.

The firefighters "are trained and specially qualified to operate safely and effectively in these dangerous infernos and have been responding to wildfire events every year for the last several decades," Nulty said.


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