Fry Fire in northern California

Firefighters Brent Madden and Walter Webb battle the Elkhorn Fire in California. 

CALIFORNIA — Captain Adam Short as well as firefighters Brent Madden and Walter Webb are making their way home after assisting with two wildfires in northern California.

The three men from Fry Fire District spent two weeks with a strike team helping contain two of the once more than 30 fires blazing in the Golden State. Short said they were asked if they could stay up there longer as much needed resources but their request was denied.

Because Fry Fire District is contracted with the State of Arizona for these calls, Short said if the state feels more resources are needed at home then they will deny the extension waiver.

Fry Fire Chief Mark Savage can also deny the waiver if they need personnel back in town.

Short added that there is a two-week maximum for wildfires because the crews work 16-hour days and they want to make sure the firefighters are rested and taking care of themselves.

Short, Madden and Webb were part of a 19-person strike team that helped with the control line and mopping up hotspots to prevent the spread of the fire.

The team consisted of men from five crews, including Fry Fire District.

“Normally we’re ordered up as a single engine,” Short said. “It’s kind of fun though. You meet a bunch of new people from your area.”

Short, Madden and Webb dove to northern California in their Type 6 engine, which holds 385 gallons of water and is smaller in size, so it can get places larger fire engines can’t.

They started in Modoc and moved to the Elkhorn fire near Redding, California, where they finished their trip.

According to InciWeb, a government website managed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, as of Thursday morning the fire was 45 percent contained and spread to 44,500 acres.

The Elkhorn Fire started Aug. 19 and the cause is still under investigation.

“A lot of hard work is being done,” Short said. “Everybody is doing the best they can to get it under control.”

Because Fry Fire District is contracted with the state, and receives payment for assisting in other areas, crews are sent to different states throughout the year as well as different regions of Arizona when assistance is needed.

Short said Fry Fire District tends to go to California multiple times a year to assist in different capacities and the furthest he’s gone with Fry Fire is North Carolina, Montana and Tennessee.

“We gain a lot of different skills (working wildfires),” he said. “We bring back a lot of new skills we learned from working with others.”