A blaze that has claimed 180,000 acres near Yosemite National Park continues to rage, but crews from Santa Barbara County are among those working to get the fire under control.
The Los Padres National Forest also has 24 firefighters and their equipment assisting on the Rim Fire, according to forest spokesman Andrew Madsen.
Another 25-member strike team is working on the Shirley Fire in the Sequoia National Forest, he said.
An added concern came this week as the fire inched closer to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which provides many cities in the Bay Area with their water supply. Officials were concerned about the ash compromising the water quality, and they continue to test it multiple times a day.
Santa Barbara County Fire crews are working 24 hours on the blaze and 24 hours off, according to spokesman Mike Eliason.
"We still have a five-engine and one-battalion chief strike team as well as two dozers working the fire," he said.
The engine crews have been assigned to a structure protection group.
Eliason said County Fire has personnel at several other fires, including the Deer Fire, which has claimed more than 10,000 acres east of Los Molinos. Crews are also present at the Hough Fire burning in the Plumas National Forest, two miles west of Taylorsville.
A captain has also been assigned to the South Operations Division area in Riverside.
Santa Barbara City Fire Capt. Gary Pitney told Noozhawk on Tuesday that it's always a balance to keep local needs met while sending resources out of town on mutual aid assignments. The number of personnel the department is able to send can fluctuate depending on local needs and conditions.
"If we are experiencing red flag conditions or experiencing local fires at the time the request for mutual aid comes in, then we will limit the number of personnel going out of county or even suspend our out-of-county involvement until local conditions stabilize," he said. "It’s important for the general public to know that providing for the safety of our own community is always balanced with helping other communities in need of assistance."
That said, the city has 13 people working on the fires up north. Two of those people are working as radio operators.
"The idea is that each fire will have its own frequency," he said, and that antennas were setup by crews on the mountain tops for communications during the fire.
The city also sent a type three engine, which is a special engine that can get in to hard to access areas, particularly useful for wildland fires. Four people are with that engine, supporting the hand crews using shovels and chainsaws to cut the fire line, Pitney said, while two others are working to map the fire on foot.
As crews work to make drops of flame retardant on the fire, the closest refueling station on the fire's western side is the Santa Maria Airport, so that area has been busy as well, Pitney said.
Geri Ventura, a spokeswoman for the Montecito Fire Protection Department, said the agency has sent eight personnel on fire assignments out of the area.
Also on Aug. 19, one engine and a Montecito Fire battalion chief responded to the Shirley Fire, she said. This strike team included Santa Barbara City, Santa Maria, Lompoc and Carpinteria. This team was reassigned to the Rim Fire in Yosemite last Friday.
A Montecito Fire dispatcher responded to the Hough Fire as a radio operator, she said.