A twenty person fire crew from Connecticut departed for California Tuesday morning, to assist in one of twenty active wildfires that are raging across the state.
The crew consists of ten Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff members and ten local firefighters. They loaded onto a bus around 4 a.m.
"[There's] a bunch of things going through my head right now,” said David Ganter, a firefighter. "I've done brush fires here in Connecticut and what I've seen from what they've taught me, it’s nothing like out there. The fire's as tall as the trees.”
Connecticut’s crew will be working in northern California. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency there due to the fast-moving fires.
Kathleen Knight said she was in the same position as Ganter last year. Now, she said she knows what to expect, sort of.
"You never know what you're going to walk into," she said.
"When fire season starts, that’s what everybody thinks, when are they going to call us?” said Richard Sclora, crew boss, CT Interstate Fire crew. "We’re going to staging first. So we’re going to have time to settle in and get prepared. This is just another fire, this is what we train for, this is what we do.”
Some firefighters said they were tasked with working around the fires. Others will get a harder assignment, like going right into the thick of the flames and digging a line around them.
Westport announced on Thursday that one of the firefighters joining the crew is Assistant Chief Michael Kronick.
Kronick is a veteran firefighter who was deployed in Canada in 2013 to help battle a blaze in the province of Quebec. He's also been deployed out west a number of times.
The last time Connecticut sent a fire crew was last year to fight the 32,000 acre Eiler Fire near Burney, California.
The Connecticut crew will join other groups from all over New England. They will spend more than two weeks on this mission.
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