You can tell it's peak fire season when the bulldozers are clearing the hillside even before the flames break out. That's the goal of the Los Angeles Fire Department's Heavy Equipment Company, which was out working on some troublesome ridges on Wednesday.
L.A.F.D. Crew 3 was out in the hills above Sepulveda Pass Wednesday, clearing brush along fire roads and fire breaks. They're all volunteers, all Cadets.
"You learn the dirty part of the job getting out," said Cadet Byron Collins. "Not everybody wants to be on a hand crew."
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"They’re on call when needed," said Greg Holly of Crew 3. "We can use them with any incident in the city by simply putting out a text message. We take the first 18 that respond and staff the crew."
Meanwhile, bulldozers have about 70 percent of their work done, cutting brush across the tops of ridges.
And air operations for the city and county are ready, too. The L.A. County-contracted "Super Scoopers" arrived from Canada on Tuesday. And there's an Erickson Air Crane from Oregon. It costs about $8,000 an hour to fly it, but under some circumstances, it's worth more than that.
"It reduces life loss and property loss," said Captain Paul Egizi of L.A.F.D. Air Operations. "It's worth its weight in gold when we have an active brush fire."