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31 killed as wildfires rage in California

CNN's Nick Watt reports.

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 8:50 AM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 9:14 AM

Last week, firefighters in southern California raced to save the lives of victims of a mass shooting. Just hours later, they sped off to battle two wildfires, several miles apart.

They're still on duty four days later, fighting the Woolsey fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the Hill fire in Ventura County, said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Frank Lima, a union leader.

"Those are two national news stories just on their own, let alone back to back right in the same footprint of ... 20 miles," Lima, a vice-president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said in an interview on Monday. "That's tough, it takes a big emotional toll on you."

"And as you're processing it and you haven't come down, then you throw another brick on there. ... It gets a little bit heavier."

About 20 firefighters from two Ventura County fire stations spent hours triaging victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday.

Ian David Long, a US Marine veteran, opened fire there and killed 12 people, including Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, before taking his own life.

Helus had been near the bar when the call came in, authorities said. He had been talking to his wife on the phone.

"Our members worked tirelessly on him to do everything they could to make sure he survived," Lima said.

By 6 a.m. Thursday, the Ventura County firefighters, who were among a battalion of firefighters who responded to the shooting, returned to their fire stations.

Hours later, Lima said he looked up from the parking lot of the Borderline bar and saw "the whole sky was loaded with smoke."

"And everybody just went," he said of the Ventura fire fighters.

The Woosley fire doubled in size in a 90-minute period Friday morning to 8,000 acres. By Monday, it was up to more than 91,500 acres, and was about 20% contained.

The Hill fire in Ventura County had torched about 4,531 acres, and was 75% contained Monday.

The Ventura firefighters haven't yet been able to turn their attention to their own homes, Lima said.

Lima, who has responded major national disasters such as September 11 and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, said the union offers offers counseling for the firefighters. Everyone process the stress of a crisis in different ways, he said.

"It's like grieving. Everybody has family members, and some are quiet and some cry. Some don't cry. Some want to be by themselves," Lima said.

A third fire in Northern California also continues to burn. At its fastest, the Camp Creek fire, which started early Thursday, spread at more than a football field per second, or 80 football fields per minute. By Monday, it had torched more than 113,000 acres, killed 29 people and virtually destroyed the town of Paradise. It was about 25% contained by Monday morning, according to the state firefighting agency Cal Fire.

Lima said he has talked to the firefighters who responded the shooting and the wildfires. They're tired, he said, but running on adrenalin.

"They've got a fire raging down their back," he said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 391099

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60298839
Washington41981395
Marion39886506
Clackamas32773378
Lane30113355
Jackson24880360
Deschutes23557185
Umatilla15126180
Linn14637179
Douglas13375291
Josephine10148244
Yamhill9762143
Klamath9053146
Polk8212100
Benton609738
Malheur592487
Coos5664106
Columbia430455
Jefferson420266
Lincoln362152
Union338755
Crook334056
Wasco316146
Clatsop261835
Baker219833
Tillamook216645
Hood River213737
Morrow197525
Curry191939
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105416
Wallowa75713
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5083462

Reported Deaths: 74473
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152713227166
San Diego4069274335
Riverside3876785358
San Bernardino3745435962
Orange3343985725
Sacramento1683542443
Kern1576621804
Fresno1567952254
Santa Clara1520891925
Alameda1251761504
San Joaquin1075591834
Ventura1040031190
Contra Costa1037721046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare860871096
San Francisco56909669
San Mateo56320629
Monterey52488626
Solano47671357
Santa Barbara47293549
Merced45053667
Sonoma43168412
Placer42141470
Imperial38477773
Kings35206363
San Luis Obispo31476359
Madera26194311
Shasta26081451
Butte25455314
Santa Cruz22248224
Yolo21558257
Marin18465249
El Dorado18301166
Sutter14571186
Napa13420104
Yuba1076089
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10158119
Nevada10019105
Mendocino857197
Lassen796756
San Benito781578
Tuolumne773090
Lake7043110
Amador577366
Siskiyou474755
Glenn457436
Calaveras441588
Del Norte375542
Colusa325220
Inyo256646
Plumas19367
Mono18784
Mariposa160018
Trinity99717
Modoc7655
Unassigned3220
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
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