SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Firefighters with the Santa Maria Fire Department just returned after battling California’s largest wildfire in state history.
"It’s challenging because of the heat the drought the stress on the Forrest and the fire behavior was pretty intense for the folks that were out there," said battalion chief Jim Clayton of the Santa Maria Fire Department.
Cory Pascolla was one of some 20 firefighters who fought the Dixie fire.
"Our engine has been up there since the middle of July … so it was fun being a helping hand to put it out," said Pascolla.
Firefighters worked the fires for 70 days.
Firefighters say one of the biggest challenges about the Dixie fire was working with the unpredictable weather.
"The terrain … it’s Kind of rugged and then the weather was unpredictable … in fact one night we were up there and start pouring a lot," said Pascolla.
To help battle the fire, fire crews used the new Engine 305 for the first time.
"The long days and you know the weather definitely takes a toll on everybody … the long time away from home and families and the department and stuff," said Clayton.
"It’s great to be back it was fun to go out there and help out," said Pascolla.
The other agencies assigned to the strike team included Santa Barbara city, Carpinteria, Lompoc, Montecito and Santa Maria.
The fire department said they are proud of all the hard work during this long and dangerous assignment.