AUBURN (CBS13) — As peak wildfire season winds down, some firefighters are heading home to their families for the holiday — but others aren’t as lucky.
Cal Fire crews are manning their stations for Thanksgiving, making meals and hoping they won’t be called into action mid-turkey dinner.READ MORE: Interstate 80 In Fairfield Reopened Sunday
Firefighters at Cal Fire’s Auburn told us about how they make the most of being away from home for the holiday.
Sharing gratitude, meals, and memories at the table is typical on Thanksgiving.
“We’ll have all the food lined up here,” said Nick Martinez, with Cal Fire. “We get a lot of donations, family brings stuff and we like to cook as well.”
This year, Cal Fire crew members won’t be breaking bread with their biological family, but instead with their fire family.
As peak fire season winds down, crews were expecting to be home for the holidays but Battalion Chief Brian Eagan says this year that won’t be the case.READ MORE: Lab Experts Criticize State’s Response To Risk Of 'Serious Injury, Harm or Death' At CA COVID Testing Lab
“All of our staff is still here,” Eagan said.
So why are Cal Fire crews still fully staffed in November? Eagan says there’s two reasons. First, a boost in funding has allowed for peak staffing through the Christmas.
“That’s part of being a firefighter. We’re on duty 24 hours a day,” Eagan said. “But after two very long fire seasons with no break in between, it’s extremely hard on the staff.”
The second reason? Fire season isn’t over. Santa Ana winds threaten Southern California, forcing strike teams in the north to deploy one day before Thanksgiving.
“Staff that thought they would have Thanksgiving at the fire station with their fire station families and their own personal families are now in Southern California,” Eagan said.
With part of their fire family in SoCal, they’ll hold down the fort, hoping the dinner bell is the only ringing they’ll hear on Thanksgiving.MORE NEWS: Nevada, California Governors Plan A Fix For I-15 Congestion
If you’re wondering what the fire station’s grocery bill is on Thanksgiving, well, on a normal fully staffed shift, the bill can reach upwards of $2,000 a week.