Firefighters are making progress on several wildfires burning throughout California, including the weeks-long Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County. The threat level on the east side of the fire has been reduced significantly and, with conditions improving, some evacuation orders have been lifted, according to Cal FIRE.
Burning in the Lake Cachuma area, south of Highway 154, the Whittier Fire is now 18,015 acres and 49 percent contained. On just the Whittier Fire alone, there are 1,612 firefighters assigned, including 103 fire engines, 38 hand-crews, 16 dozers, 14 helicopters, and 22 water tenders and 18 bulldozers. The coordinated public safety effort consists of various local, state and federal agencies including Santa Barbara County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, Southern CA Edison, PG&E, Goleta Water District, Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, American Red Cross … continue reading »
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 15, 2017) — California’s firefighting mutual aid system continues working at full speed this weekend sending firefighters and resources from across the state to join the battle at 12 major wildfires threatening dozens of communities at both ends of the state. As of Saturday, there were more than 400 engines, four dozen aircraft and over 7,000 personnel working on wildfires that have already burned as much as 159,000 acres statewide.
“Our tried-and-true mutual aid system is working just as designed. We’re strategically deploying a lot of resources to these wildfires regardless of where they’re burning,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “Our number one priority is to protect lives and property using the most effective combination of local, state and federal resources through a unified effort,” said … continue reading »
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 »
Whether it’s a major wildfire or a search and rescue mission, the Cal OES Law Enforcement Branch is there. Providing valuable services to California’s law enforcement agencies is the call the Cal OES Law Branch has answered for 57 years.
During emergencies, Cal OES Law Branch plays a critical role coordinating mutual aid resources local jurisdictions need to help them respond to an emergency. This coordination of law enforcement officers from jurisdictions all around the state is through the Law Enforcement Mutual Aid (LEMA) system.
Most recently, the Cal OES Law Enforcement Branch has been involved in major events like the Erskine Fire in Kern County, Oroville Dam Emergency in Butte County, Super Bowl 50, numerous Search and Rescue missions including the rescue of missing hiker Cody Michael, Butte Fire in Calaveras County, Boles Fire in the … continue reading »
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services pre-positioned nine Swiftwater Search and Rescue teams throughout the state as a precautionary measure with another significant storm pounding Northern California. The teams are currently staged in the counties of Butte, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Stanislaus, and Merced.
The pre-positioning of these specialized resources is a proactive measure to protect lives and provide rapid response to requests for assistance from local government during the current storms. Teams are deployed as part of the Cal OES Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid system, which is a neighbor helping neighbor sharing of resources.
“The pre-deployment is a move by Cal OES to be proactive in our ability to protect lives in the event that the resources are needed and to decrease the response time for specialized resources that we have available,” said Brian Woodbeck, … continue reading »
This episode (#18) Cal OES Deputy Chief Paul Tassone sits down at the mic with us. Chief Tassone is going on his 34th year in law enforcement, and his 6th with Cal OES. His career began with a tour of duty in Air Force when he got out of high school. While in he received medical training and when he got out he began working as an EMT2 while going back to school. It was during that time he became interested in law enforcement. He attended the Sacramento Sheriff’s Academy in 1982 and spent the next couple of decades working his way up through the ranks, working closely with emergency management, until landing at Cal OES in 2011. He’s now deputy chief, administration. A self-proclaimed adrenalin junky, he loves working with emergency services and the people in that community.
Chief Tassone talks about how much he relies on technology and is especially impressed by modern mapping systems and their use during search and rescue missions – satellite trackers and real-time feeds from air to ground to help direct crews with pinpoint accuracy even at night. To see an example of that technology, click this link to watch a story that also includes night vision goggles and helicopter demonstrations (the monitoring is at the end of the video.)
Despite a very wet October and November, California continues to remain in severe drought conditions over much of the state. Therefore, we all need to keep our focus set on conservation. And let’s not forget that wildfire season is really year-round now. As of this posting there are two active fires burning (more info).
So, today we look back at the Cedar Fire, a wildfire that broke out in San Diego County in October of 2003 and burned into November, with full containment coming on November 4th.
By the time it was all said and done, the blaze burned more than 280,000 acres, destroyed 2, 820 buildings which includes 2,232 homes, and killed 15 people. According to CalFIRE the … continue reading »