More than 20 Orange County firefighters stood Wednesday at the base of a burnt-out fire training building across the street from Angel Stadium with a week’s worth of supplies at their feet, less than a day from being thrown into the fight that has occupied thousands of their coworkers for the last week across California.
Five of them, Costa Mesa firefighters, joked and jawed with Del Taco breakfast burritos in their hands and sleeping bags, sacks full of clothes, and a pile of firefighting jackets and helmets curbside, waiting for the bus that would take them 500 miles north to Butte County.
The men are part of a county strike team — a group of more than 20 firefighters and five trucks sent on a mission. Costa Mesa firefighters have been traveling up and down the state for nearly a month now, ever since the Humboldt Fire started up there in early June. It seemed that the Humboldt Fire was nothing but a warm-up for what firefighters across the state have had to deal with since hot, dry weather and lightning strikes ignited virtually all of Northern California.