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Fire Agencies Have Little Known Weapon In Battling Brush Fires On Central, South Coasts: Bulldozers

In the mountains just east of Fillmore, a little known team of firefighters is preparing some slopes for the possibility of a brush fire. When you think of firefighters, you think of the men and women with fire trucks, hoses, and shovels, and those who battle blazes from the air. But, this team of Ventura County firefighters includes three heavy equipment operators, and support crews, who use bulldozers to help stop the flames.

This is their busy time of year. In a little canyon east of Fillmore, the dozer team is doing some work to insure this area is prepared as possible for potential brush fires.

It can be dangerous work, especially in rugged terrain at night. During the Thomas Fire, it was so windy it was tough to create fire breaks because the flames were moving so quickly, and would sometimes jump the lines.

The Thomas Fire reinforced the fact that we can have brush fires practically year round. But, summer and fall tend to be the busiest time of year, with the dangerous combination of heat and wind. And, even when it isn’t high brush fire danger time, this specialized crew is pressed into service in other ways, helping in a pinch in clearing flood control basins.

Earlier this year, the dozers were in action in Montecito, helping to move debris. So, even though this team doesn’t have fire hoses, they are part of the first line of defense against fires, and floods.

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