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Oceanside firefighters help with Border 3 Fire and Reservoir Fire

REGION — Oceanside firefighters are home after they helped battle blazes in east San Diego and Los Angeles County.

Three four-wheel drive brush engines, one structural engine, and 12 personnel were sent to fight the Border 3 Fire in east San Diego.

The first Oceanside engine went out on June 19, the date the fire started. The other local engines joined shortly thereafter.

Crews fighting the fire worked in 24-hour on, 24-hour off shifts in triple degree heat. Thirteen helicopters and two air tankers were used in initial efforts.

Battalion Chief Greg DeAvila served as a task force leader trainee and helped manage operations.

Hundreds of residents were evacuated, and over 7,600 acres were scorched.

All Oceanside firefighters retuned home by June 27. The fire was completely contained by June 30. Over 1,900 firefighters fought the blazes.

That same week Battalion Chief Pete Lawrence and Fire Capt. David Parsons were called to serve on the incident command team to manage operations at the Reservoir Fire, which broke out near Azusa.

The nearby Fish Fire tuned the situation into a complex fire, named the San Gabriel Complex.

Crews battled blazes in high summer temperatures, and steep, rugged terrain. Water-dropping helicopters were used to slow the fire.

Hundreds of residents and dozens of horses were evacuated.

Lawrence and Parsons went out on June 20, and have returned home. Over 300 personnel remain to mop up, as of July 1.

During operations more than 1,000 firefighters fought the complex fire, which burned over 5,000 total acres.

California uses a mutual aid firefighting system to manage big fires. All agencies participate, and in turn have state resources at hand for local needs.

“It doesn’t matter what patch you have on your sleeve,” Oceanside Fire Capt. Jess Specht said. “Oceanside has always been a very big participant. We take our role in that very seriously.”

The Sherpa fire, near Santa Barbara, also burned 7,969 acres that week.