California’s Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid System Working To Battle Season’s Biggest Wildfires

Jul 11, 2017 10:50 am
Photo of Asst. Chief Brian Woodbeck and Kim Zagaris

Swinging into action for yet another season, teams of specially-trained firefighters from across the state are being strategically deployed to the state’s biggest wildfires. Currently, eight menacing wildfires are actively burning across the state, with more than half of those in the Central and Southern regions alone.

These fires are requiring the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to put the California Mutual Aid System to work.

“Every year we’re playing an important strategy game, constantly tracking resources and monitoring the temperatures, winds and fuel conditions all over the state,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of Cal OES. “Our mutual aid system relies heavily on the good faith efforts of local government agencies who have always responded to calls for help without hesitation. We’re proud of the system because it’s proven to be the most effective … continue reading »

No Comments | Join the Conversation!

Cal OES Director Secures Fire Management Assistance Grant from FEMA to Assist Response Agencies Battling Wall Fire in Butte County

Jul 9, 2017 6:01 pm
Photo of Mark Ghilarducci

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci today secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the Wall Fire burning in Butte County. The FMAG also enables local, state and tribal agencies to recover eligible costs.

Thus far, the fire has burned approximately 5,000 acres, threatening structures near the areas near Bangor, Kelly Ridge and Oroville. Cal OES is working with Cal FIRE and Butte County to mobilize multiple fire strike teams and firefighters including fire engines, dozers, water tenders and fire retardant drops from aircraft as well as shelter operations staff and emergency communications capability. Statewide, about 200 local government and another 40 Cal OES fire engines have been mobilized to assist wildfire activity.

Cal OES Fire, Law Enforcement and Inland … continue reading »

2 Comments | Join the Conversation!

Drought Emergency Rescinded But Tree Mortality Still Dire

Apr 14, 2017 11:23 am

After six-plus years of historic drought, Governor Edmund G. Brown rescinded the state of emergency order, excluding four counties, in the wake of one of the wettest winters in state history. Only Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties remain in a drought emergency.

The drought is effectively over, though one of the fallouts from sustained dry conditions are recognizable in various counties throughout California. Tree mortality, resulting from unprecedented drought and subsequent bark beetle infestations, has stripped California forests of more than 100 million trees.

The mortality data is based on the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Detection Survey flown across all forested lands of the state each year. The Forest Service has already treated 30,000 acres of dead trees, with more to come.

The estimated number of dead trees in California from 2010 to 2016 … continue reading »

No Comments | Join the Conversation!

California Wildfire History By The Numbers

Dec 2, 2016 5:07 pm

California has seen more than its fair share of wildfires and the drought has not helped fire conditions. Fire seasons seem to be getting longer and the number of fires are going up.

Do you know which wildfire was the largest? Most destructive? The deadliest? The statistics are staggering. In the last 10 years alone, California has experienced 11 of the largest and eight of the most destructive wildfires in recent history. Here is CAL FIRE data outlining the Top 20 largest, destructive and deadliest wildfires in the Golden State.


continue reading »

No Comments | Join the Conversation!

Cal OES Joins Multiple Agencies To Commence Tree Removal Project

Jun 10, 2016 2:37 pm

The drive into the Sierra Nevada region of Tuolumne County is peaceful and surrounded by picturesque scenery. But trekking deeper into the woods provides a more disconcerting visual.

Drought, bark beetle and other stresses have contributed to massive tree mortality, as detailed by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), with an estimated 29 million tree deaths in California.

Earlier this week, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) joined multiple agencies, including Cal Fire and PG&E, to initiate a tree removal project near Sonora in Tuolumne County.

“It takes a lot of time to remove trees and you can see how dangerous these trees are,” said Cal OES Assistant Director of Recovery Charles Rabamad, who toured the project on June 9 in the small town of Twain Harte. “Obviously the collaborative effort is great … continue reading »

No Comments | Join the Conversation!

California Kicks Off Wildfire Awareness Week

May 2, 2016 5:04 pm

Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed May 1-7 as “Wildfire Awareness Week” in California. Last year’s destructive Valley and Butte fires as well as the ongoing drought and vast tree mortality remind Californians of the fire dangers the state continues to face this fire season.

Wildfire Awareness Week was kicked off at CAL FIRE’s Aviation Management Unit in Sacramento by Governor Brown with state and federal leaders. Governor Brown was joined by Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott, California National Guard General David Baldwin, U.S. Forest Service Region 5 Deputy Regional Forester Jeanne Wade Evans, and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird.

State and federal officials not only discussed steps their respective agencies are taking in preparation of fire season, but stressed steps Californians can take to reduce their risk – … continue reading »

No Comments | Join the Conversation!

Governor Brown Expedites Wildfire Recovery in Trinity, Lake Counties

Aug 27, 2015 4:40 pm

brown portraitGovernor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an emergency order for Lake and Trinity counties to help residents and businesses recover from the damaging effects of wildfires. Already this year, a series of wildfires in those counties has burned tens of thousands of acres, destroyed dozens homes and damaged critical infrastructure.

This executive order will expedite the removal of hazardous debris from the impacted areas and will waive fees to replace documents such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates for those affected by the fires. Today’s executive order follows the State of Emergency declaration issued in late July for wildfires across California during one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

Full text of the Executive Order is below … continue reading »

No Comments | Join the Conversation!

Subscribe to Cal OES

Stay connected with the Cal OES Newsroom!