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Cal Fire Strike Team Battles Fire, Exhaustion in Wake if Wildfires

Exhaustion is a concern for Butte County firefighters after working for three weeks straight before heading to the assist with the Delta Fire.

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 6:11 PM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 6:13 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Cal Fire Butte County strike team has been working on fires in the north state for nearly three weeks straight, and now the team has been assigned to the Delta Fire. 

Resources have been spread thin due to the wildfires, and Action News Now's Laura Eng went to the Chico Attack Air base to learn more about what challenges the teams face with back-to-back fires. 

"It's not ideal for these guys to be out here too too long," said Rick Carhart, public information officer for Cal Fire Butte County. "There's an amount of time that we don't try to make them go past." 

On Sept. 5, the Cal Fire Butte County Strike Team was heading home after working 19 days straight on Hirz fire. However, they got the call that they were needed when the Delta Fire started. 

"Believe it or not, we were the very first fire engines on it," said Jason Morris, battalion chief for Cal Fire Butte County. "We got released from the Hirz Fire and after we got done with that, we were coming down the freeway and actually saw the fire start." 

At this point, Morris said that they have to fight morale and exhaustion to keep going on these fires. 

"If they start getting sick or start breaking down mentally, it will affect their safety on the fire lines," Morris said. "So, my focus is on my crew." 

The Butte County Strike Team has consists of five engines and 16 firefighters. In an effort to preserve their energy, they are working to see if they can get another strike team to replace them, Carhart said. 

"It's tough because not only are you fighting the fire, you are also fighting the morale and the exhaustion," Morris said. 

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One more warm day on Monday then cooler weather ahead with some clouds and mountain showers possible. Also high fire danger this week.
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