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Cal Fire locked and loaded, ready to fight fires

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 21:11:25-04

DEHESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Cal Fire completed even more training this year, this time integrated with other agencies, sharpening their firefighting skills.

Cal Fire sprang into action Wednesday, attacking the Vista Fire in Dehesa.

"I was shocked, so many helicopters, dropping off so many bodies, when you looked at the hill, gosh I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say there were 100 firefighters on that hill," neighbor Sherry German said.

When the fire started, German's dog Joey let her know something was wrong. When she let him out, she heard the sirens coming, turned and saw the flames right next-door.

"I panicked when I saw the flames, I told my husband I'm out of here, I'm grabbing the dog, I'm grabbing my work and I'm out of here," German said.

Some of the force fighting that fire took off from the Ramona Air Attack Base. On the tarmac perch two planes equipped to make retardant drops, a guide plane for the air buses, two tanks holding 50,000 gallons of retardant mixed with water, ready to go. They also have more than a dozen bags of red retardant powder, each weighing a ton.

They used two and a half bags in the Vista Fire fight.

"This is the peak part of our season so we're definitely staffed up and ready to go, Cal Fire has a ton of resources," Public Information Officer Thomas Shoots said. He said the extra training integrated with other agencies is what strengthened their ability to respond instantaneously.

"We've been blessed with a couple weeks of marine layer and cooler weather but it is getting hotter it is getting drier," he said, concerned about the rest of the summer.

German said she feels safe knowing how fast they respond, "the fact that it actually came close to a number of my neighbor's properties, in yet they were on it so fast that no property damage was done and really it was remarkable, I'm so grateful."