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Cal Fire Butte County on Thomas Fire efforts

"We were laying seasonal's off, our fire season was essentially over, and so getting called to Southern California? That was a surprise," said Edson.

Posted: Dec 26, 2017 5:05 PM

"From the fire behavior I saw? From all the fires I've been on, it was moving a lot more progressively than what I'd expect in December," said Cal Fire Butte County Captain Jeff Edson.

When a fire broke out near Santa Paula on December 4th and rapidly spread North into Ventura County, firefighters needed help, and fast.

"When we got down there there was 285 days of no rain in Southern California," said Edson.

On December 6th, Edson and his Cal Fire Butte County strike team made their way down to join the battle. They brought 15 engines, three strike teams and 30 people on hand crews.

"We were laying seasonal's off, our fire season was essentially over, and so getting called to Southern California? That was a surprise," said Edson.

The Santa Ana winds carried the flames over fire lines, under retardant, and it spread into Santa Barbara County,
Help came from fire departments in ten states, and the work was non-stop.

"We didn't have the resources or personnel to replace them so we got released on the 23rd, got home the day before Christmas and it helped a lot, a lot of them were planning on not being home for the holidays" said Edson.

As of Christmas, 1,063 structures were destroyed.

"It could have been a whole lot worse, with houses if we didn't have the resources put in place to protect them," said Edson.

Edson says the battle, was an emotional one.

"In terms of all the destruction right before to holidays, not just for us to get back, but sad to see all the stuff that was going on down there. The mutual feeling was everyone just wanted to get it wrapped up, get people back to their normal lives as best we could, as quick as we could," said Edson.

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Light scattered showers are on tap for the start of your Thursday, and I'm tracking heavier rain ahead from Thursday afternoon through mid day Friday. We'll have a lull in our wet pattern late Friday through early Saturday, but even heavier rain and snow will return this weekend and persist into next week. Major travel impacts will be possible across northern California from this wet weather.
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