A wildfire in Northern CA last year that claimed more than 50 lives was more about protecting homes than fighting it out, experts said Wednesday.
“What we’re talking about is a very large, complex, complex fight,” said Michael Gebbia, an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley and the chief of fire science at the University of California, Berkeley.
“The firefighters did a phenomenal job.
They did a terrific job.
We’re all very happy that we didn’t lose more than one firefighter,” Gebbi told ABC News.
But, he said, “the challenge we had is, we had two fires in a very short period of time, so it was a lot of smoke and no one had a lot to do with the fires.”
Gebbia also said the fight against the fire was different because it was so hot and it was the most dangerous fire in the area.
“We had fires at the same time, and it had been raging for about 10 days,” Gecbia said.
“It was just so hot.
We were in a war zone.”
Firefighting efforts have been hampered by a lack of air conditioning in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The air conditioning system that keeps the air in San Francisco and Oakland working is still in a temporary phase, but Gebbian said the equipment is up and running in the next couple of weeks.
Gebbi also said that the fight to keep the fires at bay was also different because there were no helicopters in the fight.
“There are not any helicopters flying at the moment,” he said.
“It’s like the fight for San Antonio in the Civil War,” he added.
“The Civil War was fought by air, so you had the guns.
You had the tanks, you had cavalry.
And now, there are not even the airplanes.”ABC News’ Jessica E. Gresko contributed to this report.