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SMFD’s Campbell Battling Apple Fire

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
Brian Campbell, a local firefighter-paramedic, is on the front lines of the battle against the Apple Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest.

San Marino Firefighter-Paramedic Brian Campbell has been deployed to help battle the Apple Fire, a blaze that as of Tuesday afternoon had consumed more than 33,000 acres and was 55% contained, according to Cal Fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The fire began on July 31 in the San Bernardino National Forest near Morongo Valley. The fire is believed to have been sparked by a misfiring automobile and has been nourished by windy, dry conditions. Campbell was sent into the mountainous terrain on Aug. 3 and was still on duty Tuesday, according to San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda.
The SMFD routinely receives requests for assistance during forest fires and other natural disasters. Expenses are reimbursed by the federal government when the incident takes place in a national forest.
“We either send fire engines or specially trained firefighter-paramedics,” said Rueda. “Since this fire was taking place way up in the mountains, they weren’t looking for equipment. Brian was selected for his medical expertise and is embedded with a crew that is fighting the fire by hand.”
“Brian is working the lines as a fire line paramedic,” said San Marino Fire Capt. Dominic Petta. “He is the first line of medical assistance for any firefighters that get injured or need treatment.”
The SMFD received a request for volunteers from Verdugo Fire Communications, a 13-city consortium that includes San Marino and other agencies in the region. Two firefighters from the South Pasadena Fire Department were also sent into action.
“The work that they are doing is very arduous,” said Rueda. “In this case it is really steep terrain and the temperatures on the ground are over 100 degrees. Brian has to contemplate his plan of attack from a medical standpoint, and also ‘How can I get them out of here?’ if the condition requires him to do so. The experience he and other firefighters and paramedics like him bring back to our city is tremendously valuable.”


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