Fire dept. applies for grant to help in fight against valley fever

Fire & EMS
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By FireRescue1 Staff

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A fire department is hoping to be awarded a grant that would help in their fight against valley fever.

Bakersfield Now reported that the Kern County Fire Department applied for a $100,000 state grant so they can clear vegetation from fire-prone areas without using firefighters.

Valley fever is a fungal infection that can cause chest pains, coughing and bumps and rashes on the skin. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Valley fever is a fungal infection that can cause chest pain, coughing and rashes, and the California Department of Public Health said wildland firefighters are more vulnerable to the condition than the public.

According to department officials, a study found that wildland firefighters are more susceptible to valley fever while they are creating fuel breaks because they are in close proximity to soil and dirt that is kicked up from the ground.

KCFD said they typically dispatch around 20 firefighters to create fuel breaks, so they hope the grant will be able to prevent them from having to do so.

Officials said they expect to hear if they have been approved for the grant by next week.