Firefighters in California build containment lines to help suppress wildfire

World Today

A tree burns from the inside during the Ranch Fire in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Fire crews in California are dealing with over a-dozen wildfires, but significant progress is being made in containing the Mendocino Complex fire, which is the largest in the state’s history.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

The job of a firefighter is an arduous one. Working with axes to put out embers and avoid further fires, tree trunks are cut open with chainsaws. and the area is hosed down to ensure flames do not pass through.

The focus of this operation is to light controlled fires at the top and then move down towards the wildfire, but that is a long, grueling process. 

“The challenges are the weather, the fuels that right now are in historically low moisture, that are very erratic and it’s very had to predict these days,” Fire Captain Garrett Prater said. “Very intense fires that you just can’t put out with hose lines.”

The Mendocino Complex fire  has not caused widespread destruction even though it is the largest fire in California history, but fire crews know the danger is not over yet. 

“The biggest concern is that it could pick up in activity again. And we don’t leave an area. We simply won’t walk away from an area until we are positive that we absolutely can,” Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Issac Sanchez said. “That takes long hours, arduous work to ensure that communities are safe and that fires are out and will not spread.”

This also means the backbreaking work of thousands of firefighters is set to continue for weeks to come.