A week after receiving help from neighboring fire departments to
battle a brush fire in the Verdugo Mountains, Burbank firefighters
are returning the favor by fighting fires in Simi Valley and San
Two Burbank Fire Department engines with four firefighters each
responded Friday morning to Rancho Cucamonga to fight the massive
Grand Prix fire. As of Tuesday, they were battling the fire in San
A third engine -- with four firefighters, a battalion chief and an
aide -- were dispatched to the Simi/Verdale fire Saturday night.
Additionally, a water tender manned by two firefighters was sent to
Simi Valley on Sunday and redirected to the Grand Prix fire Tuesday,
Burbank Fire Marshal Dave Starr said.
Area fire departments operate under a state mutual-aid system --
firefighters from other areas assist when a fire is larger than a
department can handle with available personnel. Burbank firefighters
who are deployed will assist other departments until the blazes are
contained or they are released from the incident.
“Everyone benefits, because no one department has enough resources
for a major situation,” Starr said. “Mutual aid places immediate
resources where they are needed instead of sticking to jurisdictions
and not having what is needed at an incident.”
Sixteen off-duty firefighters were called to fill in for their
Burbank colleagues while they were away assisting other
jurisdictions. Fire personnel usually will travel to fires in the
counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis
Obispo, but also have fought fires in Northern California.
The Burbank Fire Department pays the cost of the first 12 hours.
After that, the cost is recouped from the jurisdiction the
firefighters are assisting.
Starr said the Burbank Fire Department limits its mutual-aid
system to the available number of reserve personnel and vehicles --
four engines and one truck. But exceptions can be made for adjacent
“If we had an immediate life-threatening or home-threatening
situation nearby -- for instance, lives being lost in North Hollywood
or Glendale -- we would [dispatch more than] reserve officers, as
they would for us,” he said.
More than 100 firefighters from five fire departments, including
Glendale, Pasadena, L.A. County and L.A. City, responded to Burbank
on Oct. 21 to battle the brush fire near Wildwood Canyon. The blaze
was fully contained the next day.