Fire officials say they’re expecting a catastrophic fire season this year.
Cal Fire crews in the South Bay are training to deal with low-water reserves and tall grass, getting ready for the real deal.
“I think this year is going to be worse than last year,” said Corey Jacobsen, who was a rookie firefighter last summer. He’s back again this year, along with his crew, training for another fire season.
“We all pretty much know what’s coming,” Jacobsen said. “It’s just a matter of how big it’s going to get.”
On Wednesday, they set and put out several fires in the hills east of San Jose using backpacks. The backpack, a hose and the proper technique can put out “quite a bit of fire out with only 20 gallons of water,” according to battalion chief Mike Mathiesen.
Mathiesen said back pumps can be the difference between watching the fire spread or putting it out when water reserves are low.
“If we don’t have a water tinder right here, right now, to refill, we have to send it away to find a water source. That would be 30 minutes to an hour,” Mathiesen said.
California’s drought is in its fourth year.