Firefighters Face Relentless Fatigue as Wildfire Season Rages On

SACRAMENTO -- It began like it always does, without warning.

"The call came in in the middle of the night to deploy down to Southern California, Riverside County," said Sacramento City Fire Captain Scott Johnson.

Two weeks ago, Johnson, along with firefighters from City, Metro, Cosumnes and Patterson fire departments drove 14 hours to fight the Cranston Fire burning in the San Bernardino National Forest.

However, after five days the strike team was told to pack up and head to what is now the largest fire in state history -- the Mendocino Complex in Lake County.

"I don’t think anybody wants to play the game of trying to have the biggest fire and beating out the last biggest fire that you had," Johnson said.

On Thursday night, Johnson and his team were back home and worn out.

"Very exhausting. We do work 24-hour shifts," Johnson told FOX40.

With non-stop firefights across California, fatigue is a major concern. In some cases, the end result can be deadly.

"A lot of the injuries that we’ve been seeing obviously on the news and what we’ve been hearing some of them are fatigue and some of them are obviously from fireline death," Johnson said.

Johnson says a loss of life adds to his crew's vigilance, not just with the flames but with one another on the strike team.

"Everybody watches out for each other and can sense when somebody might be a little more exhausted than another one and we are able to get that person some rest," Johnson said.