Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely is currently leading a fire strike team at the Maria Fire in Calaveras County after working some nine days on the larger Wall Fire in Mariposa
Ripon Fire’s Neil Green has also joined Neely as an assistant in Calaveras County.
Lathrop’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) engine and a similar one from Stockton Fire Department have combined efforts with OES engines from Kern County and Ventura at the Calaveras wild fire after both Tracy and Manteca city OES trucks were sidelined due to recent fire related damages sustained in other fires.
Firefighters with the green Lathrop OES engine include Shaun Wooten, Eric Smith, Brian Smith and Justin Neely.
Chief Neely said he worked first at the Wall Fire and then returned home on Friday for the weekend. He was called back for the Maria Fire on Monday where some 54 acres had burned. He said their first assignment there was to cover the unstaffed stations in Tuolumne County before going on the fire line.
“Another day here and I expect we will be called back to Mariposa because they are calling for more resources to that area,” he said.
One of Lathrop’s engines had also been assigned to the Calaveras Fire alongside engines from French Camp, Linden Peters and the Waterloo-Morada departments.
Lathrop firefighters joining in to fight the two fires included Jaime Forburg and Juan Fortuny.
Neely said he didn’t know how long he and his men would be on the fire line before being relieved.
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