During brush fire season, Capt. Ron Bell said Burbank fire crews
are regularly dispatched to places like Malibu, Santa Barbara and
"We've had guys go as far as Northern California and fly up on a
military jet," he said.
The state is divided into six regions, and as an incident grows,
dispatchers will call on crews in their region, then eventually from
beyond. Burbank falls in Region 1, which includes the counties of Los
Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
Manny Soto, communications supervisor for the Glendale-based
Verdugo Communications Center, said fire crews from the nine cities
it serves are sent out to large incidents an average of about a dozen
times each summer and fall.
Most recently, he said a strike team of firefighters from Burbank,
Glendale and Pasadena was sent out July 24 to battle a brush fire in
Bell said the calls for mutual aid are coming in more frequently
now, but the result is fewer fires getting out of control.
"We get called out more each year because we've learned if you
wait too long to call for help, you'll lose homes," he said.
Firefighters are sent out in strike teams, which consist of five
engines and one battalion chief. Those teams are always comprised of
some combination of units from Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, and
fire officials said unless there is a major local fire, a strike team
is always on call.
"If they call us, the cities are basically mandated to respond,"
While Bell said Burbank firefighters are called nearly every year
to places like Malibu, outside departments can also be called into
the local area, as Soto said happened with last year's Brand Park
"It started as a local fire incident," he said. "As it escalated,
we went to the other 10 cities in our area. Once it exceeded [the
area's] capabilities, we went to the L.A. County Fire Department."