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Firefighters Discuss Fatigue, Health Concerns During Wildfire Season

After months of fighting explosive wildfires throughout California, the fatigue and health risks are starting to take a toll on firefighters.

Posted: Nov 20, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 10:39 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - After months of fighting explosive wildfires throughout California, the fatigue and health risks are starting to take a toll on firefighters.

"It's creating incredible amounts of fatigue on our firefighters which leads to poor health, PTSD and long-term exposure," said Josh Baker, fire captain with the Cal Fire-Butte Unit. 

Baker said that he's seen a change in the way wildfires have exploded compared to years ago. 

"Last year on the Thomas Fire in December, granted it was SoCal, here we are in Northern California doing the same thing even on a more devastating level than what we were doing in winter months," he said. "We need to have fully staffed paid year-round fire department." 

Baker then went on to say that the fatigue can affect decision making, and could put the public and other firefighters at risk. 

"When you become fatigued your decision making may not be at its best in that when you're tired and you're an engine operator, you have the lives of your firefighters and potentially the lives of your community in your houses so you have to be able to make sound judgments, he said

He believes that the best solution is more hands on deck to relieve the crews.

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