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Central Coast hotshot crew helped fight Canada’s wildfires

Courtesy: Jeff Shutt, Ventana Hotshot IHC Captain

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV)- Wildfires in Canada continue to burn. It’s destroying homes and torching over a million acres.

Ventana Hotshots, a crew from the Los Padres National Forest were on the frontlines fighting the fire.

“Out in Canada, it's so thick, it's very wet, very boggy, and swamp,” said Jeff Shutt, a

Ventana Hotshot IHC Captain. “It's light for literally 18 hours of the day.”

This is the first time the Ventana Hotshot crew went out on an international call. The team sent out 19 out of their 26-member team, to help fight the raging fires in Canada. They spent about two and half days on the road. As soon as the team got there, they hit the ground running.  

The Ventana crew is used to dealing and handling with wildfires on the West Coast. But they needed to learn how to fight fires in a different country. So they adapted. Shutt said it was a learning curve to learn how firefighters in Canada handle fires. He added they were also able to learn from firefighters that came from as far as Australia and Great Britain.

“Canada's a different place. For one, we've been to Alaska a couple times,” said Shutt. “Fighting fires in Alaska is very similar to fighting fires in Canada due to geographically where it's at. It's very wet, it's very flat, and a lot of the tactics are pretty similar.”

The Ventana Hotshots shipped out on May 23. Typically, crews would spend around two weeks on a fire. But this time around the Ventana Hotshots were there for 19 days.

“Representing the United States, helping out Canada, putting the word out for our crew, the Ventana hot shots, the los padres national forest, California in general, or the central coast

While the crew is back home. Shutt told KION he’s not ruling out going back up north to help.

“They don't have a lot of people up there to help them out with all the big wildfires out there because they're really hurting,” Shutt said. “That's why I'm part of the shot community is being part of a team, being part of something that's bigger than yourself.”

Shutt said if they’re able to go for another tour, he hopes to bring more of its crew. Since some members were able to get their passports.

He adds he expects these international calls to become normal.

In 2019, the Los Padres National Forest sent crews out to help with the wildfires in Australia.

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Ana Torrea

Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KION News Channel 5/46


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