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Phoenix fire adds new asset to help fight brush fires

Officials ask homeowners to keep all brush and vegetation 30 feet from their home. This gives firefighters a barrier to work with in the event of an emergency.

PHOENIX — With summer weather here, the risk of brush fires is growing. So much so, the Phoenix Fire Department has a new asset to deploy. 

Car 919 is the fourth of its kind in the Valley. Its focus — to fight brush fires. And its name — in honor those who lost their life doing just that. 

"It was named 19 to honor the 19 Grand Mountain hotshots that perished in 2013 in the Yarnell Hill Fire,” Battalion Chief Wil Gartin said.

He is the newly assigned subject-matter expert assigned to deploy to brush fires and manage safety.

"And kind of be the eyes and ear for what’s going on those events,” he said.

As the Ocotillo Fire recently reminded Valley residents, these brush fires can threaten our homes. And conditions right now make for a volatile brush fire season, according to Phoenix Fire's Rob McDade.  

“The wildland experts in the state told us pretty much had the perfect storm of rain and sunshine -- where the undergrowth and the dangerous brush that catches on fire -- it's prevalent everywhere,” he said.

MORE: Is your home prepared for fire season in Arizona?

This includes some Valley neighborhoods. So Phoenix fire wants homeowners to keep all brush and vegetation 30 feet from their home. This gives firefighters a barrier to work in the event of an emergency.

“A little bit of work on the front end is going to mean the difference possibly between saving your house and not saving your house,” Battalion Chief Gartin said.  

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