‘We can’t do it alone’: Contra Costa firefighters prepare for next big fight

Wildfires

CONTRA COSTA, Calif. (KRON) -Favorable weather conditions the past two weeks have led to a break in the fire season. However, the Contra Costa Fire Protection District says that’s about to change.

They have four crews, which amounts to 16 firefighters, providing mutual aid to other departments outside of the county, but most of the 380 front line staffers are on standby for the next big fight.

“We’re well-staffed, and I would say we’re well-motivated. Our firefighters, the morale is good – we’re out there working hard,” said District Spokesperson Steve Hill.

Overall, Cal Fire says since the beginning of the year, more than 8,000 wildfires have burned more than 3.6M acres of land in the state.

Among them, the SCU Lightning Complex Fires, which started last month, has torched nearly 400-thousand acres in parts of three East Bay counties, including Contra Costa.

“Notwithstanding the dry lightning strikes, virtually every fire that we fight, every grass and vegetation fire that we fight in Contra Costa County is made by human activity of some sort, and so, therefore, those are all preventable,” Hill added.

This year, the fire protection district has responded to 1,131 grass and vegetation fires, compared to 756 fires during the same period last year. It’s a 50% jump.

Hill says the height of the season is expected next month and, this year, he says the season likely will not end until December when the rains arrive.

“We can’t do it alone. We need every resident’s help. There are a few things we need from the property owners. We need them, if they haven’t done it, there’s still time to get out there and do their weed abatement and clearing of defensible space around their properties. That is critically important.”

And, it could be the difference between your home standing or burning down.

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