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Nearly 180 Local Firefighters Fighting Rim Fire

Firefighters from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties are fighting the Rim Fire in Yosemite.

More than 3,000 firefighters are battling the blaze and nearly 180 of them are local.

The crews from the area are using their firefighting knowledge from the fires they’ve fought here at home.

“It’s just like we’re responding to a fire here in the county. We have to get on the truck immediately and hit the road,” said Capt. David Neels, of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Neels just got back from a fire in the Tahoe National Forest and knows how the local crews are doing in Yosemite.

“Every morning they’re waking up in a tent, the hours are long, their shift usually starts at six in the morning,” he said.

After a long day of fighting the fire — from structure protection to the front lines — sometimes they won’t get back to camp until 10 p.m.

“And it takes a lot out of you in regards to that cycle, day in and day out,” said Neels.

The teams will be there for two weeks.

“Our firefighters are going to be out there as long as they need them there. And if it passes the 14-day period, we’ll actually switch out the personnel,” said Capt. David Sadecki, of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Large, local fires like the Zaca Fire that scorched 240,000 acres and the White Fire that burned through campsites, have prepared the teams for the rugged terrain and hot temperatures they’re dealing with in Yosemite.

“The firefighters are doing the best they can to put the fire out,” said Sadecki.

As warm and dry conditions continue up and down the coast, fire departments are making sure all the stations are fully staffed, even with crews helping out in the Sierra Nevada.

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