Local crews return after battling Blue Cut blaze

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CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - In just 7 days, The Blue Cut Fire consumed more than 37,000 acres and some 300 structures, including homes. It's about 89 percent contained tonight and most of the 80,000 people who were evacuated were allowed to return home, including the Cathedral City firemen who were deployed to help battle the blaze last week.

Battalion Chief John Muhr and Capt. Craig Sanborn led a 22-man strike team into the Blue Cut Fire last week.

"They had a disasters that they needed assistance with and they notify us and we respond immediately," said Muhr.

Muhr says the drive towards the Blue Cut Fire impacted him most.

"It was a little daunting going up the Highway 15.  We had erratic fire behavior on both sides of the freeway and that's something that most Californians don't get to see on a regular basis," said Muhr.

Sanborn, who is a leader in training says the Blue Cut Fire was one of the fastest moving fires he's ever witnessed.

"I mean they're talking about approximately 30,000 acres burning in one day," said Sanborn.

The firemen they led worked 40 hours straight without a break.

"Your body's natural adrenaline when you're fighting fire you've got to keep going," said Sanbron.

Muhr says that even after 29 years its hard to watch the structures turn to ash.

"It's never good to see a business or someone loose a home and that doesn't seem to wane," said Muhr. 

The firemen say it's hard on the men's families when they leave for days, sometimes with poor communication back home.

"I was very anxious to make it home to see my wife and son," said Sanborn.

After battling a fire like the Blue Cut, both men agree;

"We're proud to represent Cathedral City and do our part to protect California," said Muhr.

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