Still recovering from devastating Northern California wildfires in October, emergency management officials are now responding to a fire siege in Southern California. But they are not doing it alone.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) requested 50 engine strike teams (250 engines) from eight states via the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). Oregon has provided 75 engines, Montana has provided 16 engines, and New Mexico is sending five engines. Additionally, Nevada has sent five engines through an interstate compact.
Cal OES is coordinating and collaborating with other states for additional resources.
Neighboring states are assisting in support of at least six significant wildfires in Southern California, including the Thomas (Ventura County), Creek (Los Angeles County), Rye (Los Angeles County), Skirball (Los Angeles County), Lilac (San Diego County) and Liberty (Riverside County). Fierce Santa Ana winds, combined with dry brush and dead trees, fueled multiple fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties on Dec. 4. Since, multiple other fires have sparked throughout Southern California and spread rapidly due to continuous strong winds.
Thousands of acres have burned, destroying infrastructure and residences and prompting mass evacuations. In addition, several major freeways were shut down, schools closed, and historical landmarks threatened.
The State Operations Center is activated to coordinate resources in support of communities being affected by the fires. State, local and federal agencies are working together around the clock to support emergency management efforts and provide all the necessary resources
Cal OES has coordinated mutual aid resources of 2,500 firefighters, 600 engines and a total of 100 strike teams and task forces (19 Cal OES strike teams/task forces, 81 local government strike teams/task forces).
The California Army National Guard (CalGuard) staged more than 1,200 soldiers and airmen in their armories across Southern California to forward deploy if needed in support of the wildfires. Also, the CalGuard has deployed two Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) C-130J models activated to perform aerial firefighting operations in Southern California, four Type I helicopters with water dropping buckets and a remotely piloted aircraft to support infrared imagery and perimeter mapping.
Additional Southern California wildfire resources:
Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG)
State of Emergency Proclamations