Local firefighters return from CA wildfires - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Local firefighters return from CA wildfires

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TUCSON- The Golder Ranch Fire District crew sent to battle the California wildfires, has returned.

GRFD Community Relations Manager, Anne-Marie Braswell, said the district sent six firefighters to California.

The crew battled the Lilac Fire and Thomas Fire.

According to Cal Fire, the Lilac Fire burned 4,100 acres in San Diego County. It destroyed 157 structures.  The Lilac Fire was 100 percent contained Dec. 18.

According to the Incident Information System, The Thomas Fire has burned more than 280,000 acres in the Ventura County area. It has destroyed 1,063 structures. As of Dec. 27, the Thomas Fire was 89 percent contained.

The Thomas Fire is the largest wildfire in the state’s history.

GRFD Firefighter, Colin Port, said he was in California 14 days, working 16-hour shifts.

He was sent to Ojai, Calif. to fight the Thomas Fire. He was also stationed in Escondido, Calif. to battle the Lilac Fire.

“We did a lot of mop up, which is the final putting out of the fire, stirring the hot embers with water and dirt until they are cool to the touch,” said Port. “We picked up a lot of hose that was either unused, or had been used, and ended up burning over.”

He said the Santa Ana winds were “brutal”.

“Gravel was flying up and hitting you in the face.”

Port has battled more than 50 wildfires.

“Fire season goes into December in California frequently, but rarely do they call as many resources as they did this time.”

Port returned to Arizona Dec. 21.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 9,000 people and crews from 19 states came to battle the Thomas Fire since it first broke out.

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