FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Firefighters work around the clock to keep mountain communities safe, but they couldn’t get the job done without the extra power that bulldozers provide as they help construct fire lines. For the Creek Fire, more than 400 miles of dozer line was made.
“There’s disproportionately more dozer lines on this fire just because hand crews weren’t available. Also, a lot of the ground that we were able to work on was suited to dozers,” said Clint Wade, the Battalion Chief of Hazardous Fuels for the USDA Forest Service.
The heavy piece of equipment can only work at an estimated pace of four miles an hour in 24 hours — mostly during the daylight hours. In the beginning, the dozers are there to put the fire out, but right now they’re being used to help repair fire damage.
Vegetation is scattered back over the fire line to help during rain and winter conditions ahead and the Forest Service says repair takes twice as long as it does to suppress fires.
“We see the fire come through and obviously it’s a big thing…it’s very dangerous and there’s a lot going on, it’s affecting our communities and then it starts to kind of wind down a little bit — so to speak, but there are still crews working here,” said Chris Bridger, the Heavy Equipment Boss for the Creek Fire Incident.
The dozers work from the start of the fires all the way through to well after the fires are gone.
“Everything we do either opening up lines or putting our containment lines in, we come back and repair everything…So, that’s a long process. So these crews and these operators will be here for quite a bit longer.”