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Vandenberg firefighters help battle La Brea blaze

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  • By 020809
Twenty-eight firefighters from Vandenberg's 30th Civil Engineer Squadron continue to prevent the spread of the La Brea wildfire raging through the hills of the Los Padres National Forest.

The State of California called upon the help of Vandenberg's firefighters to extinguish the blaze of a fire that started Aug. 8.

Vandenberg's firefighters can travel as far south as San Diego, and as far north as San Francisco, to help fire departments from around California ward off wildfires. The only instance Vandenberg's firefighters will not respond to a California wildfire in this region is if it would conflict with Vandenberg's mission.

The base's firefighters have deployed Fire Engine 43, Tender 5 (a water tender), Hot Shot crewmembers and a helicopter support manager. The firefighters, on two-week shift intervals, plan to fight the La Brea fire until it is extinguished.

The team of firefighters recently returned from the Ponderosa wildfire incident near King City.

The La Brea wildfire has currently burned through 48,457 acres of land and is continuing along its incinerating path, causing the evacuation of 150 residences.

Vandenberg's fire efforts are serving in multi-faceted arenas at the La Brea wildfire.

"Our firefighters are performing duties such as refilling fire engines with water, engaging the fire line and securing areas around structures and personal property," said Martin Silva, a 30th CES fire captain.

Vandenberg firefighter have also laid more than 1,000 feet of hose to help extinguish the fire.

Preserving a national forest against the forces of nature can be difficult on many levels.

"There are three elements that make fighting this fire difficult," Mr. Silva said. "Out here, we are up against the heat, wind and topography of the land."

The teams of firefighters are well aware of their purpose at the fire and know their priorities.

"Our main concerns out here are the safety of our firefighters and the protection of the environment." Mr. Silva said.

Although the work is hard and can be dangerous, the firefighters manage to maintain high morale.

"We are happy to help out the community," Mr. Silva said. "It is nice seeing all of the training we do pay off as progress is being made."

Media Advisory: Photos of the blaze can be found at this link:

A video story will be posted on our webpage shortly.