San Diego Cal Fire strike teams sent to battle the Apple Fire in Riverside

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Firefighters from San Diego County have joined the battle to subdue the “Apple” Fire in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Captain Issac Sanchez of Cal Fire said 15 engines from San Diego’s Cal Fire district were dispatched over the weekend. Two air tankers stationed in Ramona have also been making regular runs as part of the aerial attack on the flames.

For the most part, resources to fight the wildfire are the same, except in one area. This year, there are fewer inmate hand crews to dig out containment lines and extinguish hot spots.

Sanchez said the state’s early inmate release program and the fear of contracting COVID-19 resulted in fewer participants in the corrections program. To make up for fewer inmate crews, the state has hired more firefighters this year to do the hand work. The pandemic has also affected the crews who stay overnight in the fire camps.

Sanchez said guidelines for social distancing and face coverings are strictly observed. The capacity of the sleeping trailers has also been reduced.

Even though Cal Fire in San Diego has dispatched engines to Riverside and San Bernardino, the agency said it still has ample resources to meet local needs. Thirty-five engines are standing by, ready to be deployed in the San Diego region.

The Apple Fire is the largest southern California wildfire this year. Captain Sanchez said we can look to our neighbors to the north as a reminder to be prepared.

Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Wildfires