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Arizona Crews Help Fight Deadly California Wildfire

Summit Fire and Medical Department

The wildfires burning throughout California have become the most destructive and deadly in the state’s history. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, firefighters from around the country are helping out including nearly 170 from Arizona. 

Personnel from Summit Fire in Flagstaff as well as Jerome and Heber-Overgaard, among others, will spend at least two weeks in California. They’ve been assigned to the Woolsey Fire burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and will be on the lookout for possible new fire starts caused by the gusty Santa Ana winds.

Credit Sedona Fire
Sedona Fire Engine Boss Phil Bruglio (center) with members of his crew while fighting the Woolsey Fire in Southern California.

Sedona Fire Engine Boss Phil Bruglio is stationed with his team near Thousand Oaks west of L.A.

"Chasing these winds and the fuel types being really, really dry and very receptive to burning. Oak Creek Canyon is not very different from the canyons and things we’re seeing out here. I’d say the Slide Fire was very similar activity," he says.

Bruglio says the Woolsey Fire’s advance has actually slowed in some hilly areas near Thousand Oaks where locals have allowed goats to graze. The animals have consumed dry fuels and it’s proven to be a successful fire prevention strategy.

Officials urge all residents near wooded areas to be proactive by creating defensible spaces near homes and for communities to adopt firewise programs.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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