San Mateo sends 15 fire engines to Butte County

Fifteen fire engines from San Mateo County have been sent to the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, Menlo Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said Saturday.

Schapelhouman said sending firefighters outside the area is a balancing act because of burnout and local needs.

“I’ve got a strike team leader” a deputy chief, who he sent, he said. Schapelhouman doesn’t like to send a deputy chief because as second in command the deputy has important duties at home.

Still, it’s important for fire officials to send help in emergency situations, he said.

He said during the last two months at least three of his firefighters have been helping out in other areas of the state or nation.

Schapelhouman said that fire officials are always watching to be sure their departments have enough staff each day. He said that local needs are first priority, with state and federal needs second and third.

The Butte Fire started Wednesday, has burned more than 64,000 acres and is 10 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.