SANTA BARBARA CO, Calif. - Grueling work by hand crews and hotshots make up the backbone of a massive firefight.
Combine those forces and you've got a powerful firefighting tool, something California needs as high fire season brings us into the new year.
Los Padres National Forest heads into the 2021 fire season with a third Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) after the Ventana Hand Crew successfully underwent a rigorous certification to be accredited as an IHC.
"An IHC superintendent from another Hotshot Crew was embedded for two weeks this summer while the hand crew was on two separate fire assignments in northern California," said Andrew Madsen, Public Affairs Officer for Los Padres National Forest. "He observed all facets of the hand crew's suppression work and recommended certification."
Madsen told NewsChannel 3 that California now has 49 IHC's based at Fort Hunter Liggett.
The Ventana Hotshots can respond to fire anywhere in California, Arizona and Nevada within nine hours.
Madsen added via email that last year the crew spent 176 days on the fireline, including the Lime Fire in Ventura County, the Soledad Fire in LA County, Red Salmon Complex on the Six Rivers National Forest, the Ranch 2 Fire on the Angeles National Forest, and four tours on the Dolan Fire on Los Padres National Forest from Aug 22 until mid-November.
He also noted that two other Los Padres IHCs are the Los Padres Hotshots based at Los Prietos and the Arroyo Grande Hotshots based in AG.