[VIDEO: A collection of clips shot from a UH-60 Black Hawk from the California Army National Guard's 1-140th Aviation Battalion (Air Assault), based out of Los Alamitos, dropping water from a Bambi bucket on the Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest near the town of Columbia, Calif., Aug. 21, 2013.]
Firefighters from the coast are assisting in the efforts to protect structures from the Rim Fire currently burning in the Stanislaus National Forest, Coastside Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Ari Delay confirmed Monday evening.
They are working as part of the North Strike Team. San Mateo County has three designated strike teams: one from the North, Central and South, explains Delay. The strike team that E-44 — a Type 1 engine out of the Moss Beach fire station — is on consists of engines from North County Fire Authority, Coastside Fire Protection District, Pacifica Fire Department and South San Francisco Fire Department.
“We have one engine with three firefighters that is assigned to the Rim Fire,” said Delay. “A strike team is a group of five engines with a leader and when ordering large amounts of resources they are usually called for in strike team configuration.”
Engines from South San Francisco and Pacifica and two from Daly City were also sent in. Each engine has three to four people on them.
Deployed on Friday evening, the three Strike Teams from the County includes firefighters from Redwood City, Woodside and San Mateo/Foster City/Belmont, who are also helping to battle the wildfire that has grown to 180,000 acres by Tuesday morning. Fire officials say they could be in the fire zone for up to a week.
More than 2,500 firefighters have been deployed to battle the Rim Fire that still threatens more than 4,500 homes and continues to grow since it started Aug. 17.
The fire remains only 20 percent contained and has burned the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp, according to forest service spokesman Dick Fleishman.
The fire has damaged San Francisco power and utility lines in the area and threatens the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which supplies water to much of the Bay Area, including the Peninsula, utility officials warn.
The Rim Fire has become California's 7th largest blaze in the state's recorded history, Cal Fire said.
"Despite the Rim Fire's continued growth near Yosemite National Park, firefighters are making progress with the fire now 20 percent contained," stated Cal Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant in a prepared press release. "Over 3,700 firefighters have been working around the clock to create contingency lines in an effort to protect the thousands of homes that remained threatened along the Hwy 108 corridor in Tuolumne County. With the assistance of hundreds of local fire departments from across the State, firefighters are making a stand to protect the 4,500 homes threatened. The Rim Fire has continued to grow further into the records book, this morning becoming the 7th largest wildfire in California's recorded history."