Cal Fire Crews Work to Protect Mariposa Homes, Businesses

MARISPOSA -- Ron Croft has been living in Mariposa for the last 25 years and every morning he follows the same routine.

"I'm at the Burger King every morning having coffee with the guys," Croft said.

But since the Detwiler Fire forced him to flee his Mariposa home.

"The fire was near the house, but all of a sudden it blew it for a while and blew it the other way," said Koby Johns with Cal Fire.

He's staying at a church, praying his home and his town will still be there when the fire's out.

Protecting homes and businesses is Cal Fire's No. 1 priority as they battle this monster wildfire -- using airtankers and helicopters to douse the flames.

"That slows the progress of the fire and gives our firefighters a chance to build containment tools with hand tools and bulldozers," said Johns.

Thousands of firefighters from across the state are working 24-hour shifts, some on the front lines. Others are assigned to structure protection.

"So if you're driving around town, you'll see a fire engine parked in front of a neighborhood, hose lines running off in either direction," Johns said.

And as evacuation orders continue to go out, authorities are asking residents to pack up and leave the firefighting to them.

"We can't force you to go, some people choose not to, so that puts us at greater risk," Johns said.