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These are the Hotshots, firefighters on the frontlines of deadly California blazes

September 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Specialized fire fighters known as Hotshots are battling fires that have burned in California for nearly a month with dry grass, hot temperatures and high winds creating the perfect storm for bad fire conditions.

(CNN)As tens of thousands of firefighters battles blazes up and down the state of California, specialized teams of firefighters known as Hotshots have been sent in.

"We go into the places that are gonna take some thinking and some figuring out," Superintendent of Kern Valley Hotshots Nate Nelms told CNN in a phone interview late Monday night.

"We're out there putting in those lines, building those lines and holding those lines," Nelms said, adding that their goal is to figure out the safest, most aggressive way to fight the fire.

Kern Valley Hotshots is one of many teams that has been deployed to the Creek Fire, burning in the Sierra National Forest.

There are currently 20 members of the Kern Valley Hotshot crew battling the blaze, Nelms said.

Nelms said this particular fire is unlike any he's seen in his 18 years as a firefighter.

"A lot of extreme fire behavior" coupled with "different types of fuels and topography" are making it difficult for firefighters to manage the Creek Fire, Nelms explained.

to try to get around and get in front of this thing," Nelms said.

And so, it's dangerous, too dangerous for them because they can't see where they're going," Nelms told CNN.

Nelms said that when there is "good air" and the team is getting support from aircraft, they're able to get closer to the fire and knock it down, allowing Hotshot crews to get further into the fire and put line in to secure it.

When the 24-year-old was looking for a change after being a firefighter for three years, Andrade came across Hotshots.

He told CNN he wanted to challenge himself both "mentally and physically" and heard the crew had very high standards.

"You're always doing something new," Andrade said.

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