Firefighter shortage poses problem as number of California fires continues to rise

  • Source: KFSN-TV ABC 30 Fresno
  • Published: 05/10/2021 12:00 AM

Fires in Fresno are up 50% compared to this time last year, and with the hottest months still ahead, officials say that percentage is expected to rise. Firefighters are expecting 2021 to be a record-breaking year. Crews have already put out 2,500 fires this year. That's nearly half of last year's total in just over four months. "Pretty incredible pace we are on. Most of the veteran firefighters in the department with 20 to 25 years on the job said they have never seen it like this," said Shane Brown with the Fresno Fire Department. In just the first nine days of May, crews have already responded to nearly 200 fire calls. "The numbers we are seeing now are completely unprecedented," Brown said. Brown says homeless-involved fires are up 100% from 2020. Vegetation fires are also on the rise, with an increase of 128% year over year. "Seeing these red flag warnings this early in the season, that is something that for several years has not happened," Brown said.


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