Nearly a hundred firefighters from Fresno County are helping out down south. Crews from Cal Fire, Fresno Fire and the Forest Service left early this morning. Cal fire is now hiring more firefighters to meet demand locally.
There's no telling how long local firefighters will be needed in Southern California. In the meantime, crews working here may be on the clock for weeks at a time.
Plumes of smoke rise into the air on Friday afternoon. A grass fire near Belmont and Academy threatened homes and burned at least five acres.
"We look up, all we see is a line full of flames going straight down," said Jose Maldonado, who witnessed the fire.
Maldonado was cleaning up property next door when he noticed the fire.
"It was already close and the flames got even higher on this side, so it was kinda concerning," said Maldonado.
Cal Fire crews let the flames come to them, then put it all out. With a total of 60 Fresno County firefighters now in Ventura, working smart is key.
"It hasn't changed how we can respond here locally but what it has done is eliminated the people to relieve us at the station. So the crews that you see today are the same crews you see for quite some time on those engines," said Ryan Michaels, Cal Fire Captain.
A 20 person Forest Service crew also headed south Friday morning. Instead of fighting fire with water, the Hotshots fight by hand.
"We go and put control lines in where you can't get water, stuff like that. So we use hand tools, chain saws," said Adam Hernandez, Kings River Hotshot Captain.
They also hike in the steep, remote areas. It's hard work, but it's a job they've been waiting all winter to do.
"A lot of experience on the crew and a lot of guys who're eager to work. We're just looking forward to going down there to be helpful," said Hernandez.
Fresno Fire also has about six firefighters helping in different regions of the state.