Firefighters, including members of the South Pasadena Fire Department, continue to gain ground on the SCU Lightning Complex Fire, east of San Jose.
As of Wednesday, the blaze has burned nearly 400,000 acres and reaching into five counties since starting in mid-August. It is more than 72 percent contained.
Those on the frontlines are working to extinguish nearly two dozen wildfires in the state, including a pair of complex fires in the San Francisco Bay Area, that have burned more than 800,000 acres, forcing thousands to vacate homes and businesses.
Last weekend cooler weather prevailed in helping crews slow the progress of the fires but hotter weather with gusty winds is forecast in many area where the blazes are ongoing this week.
A team of South Pasadena firefighters that was assigned to the SCU Lightning Complex Fire for a total of 15 days was relieved last Saturday by a new local crew.
The relief team is comprised of Captain Dan Dunn, FireFighter/Paramedic Jonathan Nugent and two firefighter/paramedics from San Marino as part of a shared personnel agreement between the two cities. They are assigned to structure protection.
“The previous crew reported that they were able to save several homes from burning and many animals from dying during their assignment,” said South Pasadena Fire Chief Paul Riddle, noting his department has received many “Thank You” messages from individuals “surprised to see a fire engine from South Pasadena up north protecting their neighborhoods.”
Among the letters comes from Paul Saffren of Aptos, California: “Many many years ago I used to be a South Pasadena resident (1970’s) and have long since moved up north to Santa Cruz. I want to give a big thanks to your department for helping battle with CZU Lightening Fire. Very, very grateful for your help. God Bless all 1st responders.”
Riddle anticipates that the department’s Engine 81 will be demobilized and released soon “but may be reassigned if another fire needs assistance,” he said.
While local fire officials are outside the city continuing to fight wildfires, Riddle stressed that adequate resources remain at the SPPD and no anticipated staffing shortages are anticipated.