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Local firefighters carry up to 50 pounds on their backs while fighting wildfires

10News gets a closer look at how Cal Fire trains for wildfire season, especially during hot conditions.
Cal Fire firefighters wildfire season training 2024 -- generic
Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 09, 2024

RANCHO SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — One by one, the firefighters of Cal Fire unload their truck and put on their gear. In just minutes, they are up on the hill clearing brush.

ABC 10News anchor Aaron Dickens visited the San Diego County Fire Training Center in Rancho San Diego to get an inside look into how the crews prepare for wildfire season.

"We are doing our basic line construction. We have a 6-foot cut with the saws and then a 4-foot scrape," said firefighter Bryce Cameron.

Cameron and his crew created a containment in seconds. They trained on Tuesday in record heat.

"It has been hotter this year. We are getting out in the heat. Doing a lot of training and staying hydrated," he said.

Cameron carries two gallons of water in his pack. The other supplies that will get him through his shift include a weather kit, radio and fire protective gear. It can weigh up to 50 pounds.

"Every piece of equipment they have is necessary," said Fire Captain Mike Cornette.

Cornette says in these temperatures, the firefighters get more rest and more ways to hydrate. They also do physical fitness for an hour and a half each day.

"We go out and hike in the morning. Training with the hose you saw. All our stations have gym equipment. They are staying physically fit," said Cornette.

It's a physically demanding job, but Cameron says is worth it.

"First and foremost I like fighting fires. That’s why I signed up to do this. I also like the camaraderie and family aspect of it," said Cameron.