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Battling brush fires in CNY

This utility vehicle allows the Manlius Fire Department to get up close to the flames, no matter the terrain.

Many of the wildfires in California traverse through difficult terrain. Places a large fire engine can't get to.

That's why the Manlius Fire Department bought a utility vehicle. It lets them bring firefighters and water right up to the flames, no matter the terrain.

"Portable pond, so this will unfold and we can dump water in this and then use this as our water source," Lieutenant Chris Halliday of the Manlius Fire Department said.

It's essential equipment for fighting large wildfires. Manlius firefighters quickly realized they needed it while battling the Kirkville brush fire a few years ago.

"We did not have UTVs to get personnel back and forth or to bring water back and forth like we do now," Lieutenant Halliday said.

Following a couple of outdoor fires and not much more than water filled backpacks to fight them, the department bought a utility vehicle and pump trailer.

"Carries about 100 gallons of water it has a fire pump right on the back of it. So that we can utilize this just like a fire engine and pump the water out into the field or the woods that we're in," Lieutenant Halliday said.

It's equipment that's small enough for firefighters to maneuver through difficult terrain.

"Usually when we have wildfires around here, the accessibility is our number one issue. Getting to them because they're usually well off the road. They're just difficult to get to," he said.

Firefighters battling the inferno in California have much of the same equipment and many of the same concerns that all departments have when attacking these monster fires.

"In these fires we're worried about the outdoor elements. We're worried about getting to the fire. We're worried about getting through the woods. Dealing with trees and grass and dry, dead debris," he said.

Fire officials note that fighting fires in California is very different than in central New York. They say here we don't have thousands of acres of dry land. The winds out west also make a difficult situation in southern California, even worse.

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