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YFD returns from ‘Sheep Fire’

Imperial Valley Strike Team provides aid to San Bernardino County - 13 On Your Side’s Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA/KECY) - Four Yuma firefighters are back home after providing aid to California first responders in San Bernardino during the "Sheep fire".

The fire just northeast of Los Angeles sparked on June 11. Within 24 hours, a strike team from the Desert Southwest was deployed to the area.

The strike team performed a triage of neighborhoods near Wrightwood to determine which homes could be saved.

“The next day we were assigned mop-up closer to the fire, what we call the 'black area,' it’s already been burned. Gettin’ hotspots, makin’ sure there was no progression of the fire past the fire lines,” says Yuma Fire Department Captain Gary Welch.

The Yuma Fire Department (YFD) says it’s ready at a moment's notice for situations like this.

“It’s usually two or three times a year that there’s a mutual aid request. Normally, from California,” explains Yuma Fire Department Public Information Officer Mike Erfert.

YFD says these four firefighters are trained and always prepared.

“They know if there is a mutual aid response that it’s going to be them and that’s a captain an engineer and two firefighters,” says Erfert.

Erfert says the specialized team continuously goes through a certification process and maintains what’s called a “red card” indicating they're qualified to fight wildland fires.

When the Imperial Valley Strike Team left San Bernardino, the fire was about 91% contained.

The fire was fully contained as of June 21.

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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at arlette.yousif@kecytv.com.

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