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Ventura County Fire beefs up staff in response to critical fire weather

Ventura County is now in the third heat wave of the summer season.

In response to hot, dry and gusty conditions, the Ventura County Fire Department is beefing up their staff.

“It’s just a recipe for another large incident, and we’re prepared to attack that and respond to that immediately,” said Captain Stan Ziegler.

The Fire Department is in a level two-readiness status, which means 40 extra firefighters are on duty, including a fully staffed strike team.

“It’s water tenders, bulldozers, helicopters, an additional strike team,” said Ziegler. “They are free to move about the county and respond to any incident that starts within the county, that’s a quick attack that will be deployed immediately.”

A Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service is the main ingredient for the extra hands around the county, and it’s a decision made at the state level.

“They are actually funding our additional personnel on our plan two staffing,” said Ziegler. “So, when we go into a plan two staffing that is coordinated and approved through the state, and they are funding those additional positions.”

Pulling additional resources is nothing new to local firefighters.

Ventura County Fire was on the plan two-readiness status the evening the Thomas Fire broke in Santa Paula.

“Our preparation levels are going to be very similar,” said Ziegler. “We know that anything can start at any time and we’re prepared for that.”

Captain Ziegler says the Duty Chief will monitor weather conditions and determine whether to release the additional resources Tuesday evening or Wednesday.

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