SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - For more than a month, Santa Barbara County has sent firefighting resources across California as several wildfires continue to ravage the state.
Capt. Daniel Bertucelli said Thursday that 40 personnel from SB County are currently assigned to eight different fires. Twenty-two of them are part of a strike team currently fighting the El Dorado Fire outside of San Bernardino. That team could move on to other fires.
“Our last strike team that went out five weeks ago got started off on the Lake Fire down in Los Angeles County,” Bertucelli said. “And then they moved their way up the state to the Moc Fire, which was in the Central Sierras. And they finished their tour up in the Santa Cruz area…”
Only the strike team has been on active fire lines. The other SB County personnel have been assisting Fire Management teams at base camps.
“There’s not only the boots on the ground, but also a team of fire managers… coming up with the game plan,” Bertucelli said.
Local firefighters are grateful for the state's mutual aid system.
“Whenever there’s an agency or a jurisdiction that is in need, Santa Barbara County Fire Department does not hesitate to send resources to assist them,” Bertucelli said. “Because we know how it important was when we needed their assistance, they showed up to help us. And we don’t forget that and we never will.”
Drift smoke from the massive fires has covered Santa Barbara County skies since Monday. An orange tint filled the skies in North County on Wednesday and made its way down to the South Coast by Thursday morning.
Bertucelli says the recent smoke in Santa Barbara County is primarily from the Dolan Fire, which is burning near Big Sur and has doubled in size this week.
Santa Barbara County Fire wants to remind people not to call 911 unless they see smoke from an actively burning fire.