The California fire season started early and remains fierce. The state is now considering the longer fire seasons as the “new norm,” and we should expect extreme fire conditions each and every year due to changes in our climate, extreme bug kill in our forests, years of drought, and wildland urban development. The Modesto Fire Department is a proud partner in the statewide mutual aid system, and has deployed numerous personnel and equipment on several large fires already this summer. It is important for our community to understand when we send personnel and equipment out to assist other communities in their time of need, we also backfill staffing and equipment to ensure the citizens of Modesto are adequately covered. Please keep our firefighters in your thoughts and prayers as they are working long hard hours protecting neighboring communities.