CAL FIRE- On The Front Lines Of The California Blazes Dec 6, 2017

In October, the destructive force of wildfires was on full display in northern California.  This week, southern California is feeling the wrath of these fire storms.  Dry conditions, low relative humidity, and strong Santa Ana winds have provided the ingredients for another round of large, fast moving wildfires.  And once again, CAL FIRE is on the front lines, battling the flames.  CAL FIRE has been around since 1905, and through the years, has become one of the most respected fire fighting operations in the world.  The men and women of Cal Fire, protect life, property, and natural resources with highly skilled ground tactics, along with air support from a fleet of aircraft.

Each year, CAL FIRE responds to more than 5,400 wildfires.  Because of the department’s size and capabilities, it also answers calls for 450,000 other emergencies including structure fires, automobile accidents, medical aids, swift water rescues, civil disturbances, search and rescues, hazardous material spills, train wrecks, floods, and earthquakes.  However, its reputation stems from a long history of putting down huge wildfires.  They accomplish this with highly trained personnel, and high tech equipment.

CAL FIRE covers the state with 812 fire stations.  The also use 12 air attack and 10 helitack bases.  At the core of CAL FIRE’s resources, is a force of over 5,300 full time fire professionals, foresters, and administrative employees.  There are also nearly 2,000 seasonal firefighters, and nearly 3,000 local volunteer firefighters.  3,500 California inmates are also utilized if needed.  Those numbers are impressive.  But equally impressive, is the amount of equipment used to move all of that firefighting power.  CAL FIRE operates nearly 1,000 fire engines, 184 rescue squads, 63 paramedic units, 28 aerial ladder trucks, 59 bulldozers, 6 mobile communication centers, and 11 mobile kitchen units.  Essentially, CAL FIRE employs an army of personnel and equipment on the ground.

But CAL FIRE also has a squadron of planes and helicopters to attack fires from above.  There are 22 air tankers, 12 helicopters, and 17 air-tactical planes in the sky.  Below is one of CAL FIRE’s air-tactical planes.

This Rockwell OV-10 plane flies with a crew of two, a contract pilot and the California Fire Air Tactical Group Supervisor.  The Supervisor coordinates all aerial assets on a fire with the Incident Commander on the ground. The OV-10 also serves as a guide, leading firefighting air tankers through their intended flight path.

Air tankers load up with fire retardant at various airfields.  The retardant is a slurry mix, consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, a thickening agent of clay or a gum, and a coloring agent.  The S-2T can carry 1200 gallons of this mixture.

CAL FIRE also employs Super Huey helicopters for fast initial attack on wildfires. They can quickly deliver a nine-person fire crew wherever needed.  They can also battle fires with water and/or foam drops. The copters are also used for medical evacuations.  CAL FIRE helicopter crews have also been trained to do “short haul” rescues.  These rescues involve a crew member being lowered from a hovering helicopter to an injured person below.  Once hooked to a harness or basket, both the victim and crew member are then carried to safety.

The on-going wildfire situation in California poses major threats to life and property.  The members of CAL FIRE are true heroes, putting their safety at risk to help others.  California residents should be grateful for their service.  And their efforts, skills, and bravery should be applauded.  They’re doing extraordinary work, under very difficult circumstances.

For WeatherNation:  Meteorologist Matt Monroe


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


UNDER WATER - Check out this area almost unrecognizable at Lake Travis in Texas from all the heavy rain on Thursday…

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

FLOODING from heavy rain continues to impact the Lone Star State. If you think it's been a wet few months, you're r…

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

Fire weather warnings go into effect for southern California early Friday morning! #CAwx

5 hours ago by WeatherNation

MICHAEL UPDATE - We check in with Bay County, FL to get the latest on what's happening post-#Michael @BOCCPIO

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

WATCH: We're continuing to track the deadly flooding in #Texas. Watch as residents caught pieces of the 2900 Bridge…

7 hours ago by WeatherNation

First responders were called in to evacuate a group of campers after #flood waters got a little too close for comfo…

8 hours ago by WeatherNation

While most buildings in #MexicoBeachFl were reduced to rubble by #HurricaneMichael, ONE stood tall and strong. Hear…

9 hours ago by WeatherNation

Good morning sunshine... I mean snow... ❄️I mean... what day is it? People in New Hampshire had a nice, little dus…

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

RT @WeatherNation: A look at the forecast in Houston for game 5 of the American League Championship Series tonight, along with game 6 in Mi…

11 hours ago by WeatherNation

A look at the forecast in Houston for game 5 of the American League Championship Series tonight, along with game 6…

11 hours ago by WeatherNation

More rain is on the way for Texas. This time, it's heading to the gulf coast. But how much?

12 hours ago by WeatherNation

Rain, Rain, Go Away. Texas continues to add impressive rain totals to their compartment as a soggy stretch of weath…

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

Airborne research looks into the connection between smoke and clouds:

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

NOAA's @NWSCPC issues their Winter forecast - warmth for much of the nation:

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

The #WinterOutlook is out! NOAA predicts a wetter than normal winter for most of the southern U.S., and generally w…

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

NEW VIDEO - More drone footage captures what will undoubtedly take years to recover from in Mexico Beach, Florida..…

15 hours ago by WeatherNation

It's a crisp start to the morning in Boston where wind advisories are waking up residents in the area. Still a pret…

17 hours ago by WeatherNation

NEW THIS MORNING - Upstate New York is waking up to a few snowflakes on the ground, their first official snowfall o…

18 hours ago by WeatherNation

The Lake Effect Snow Machine was cranked up on high Wednesday across parts of Michigan, and although it's taking a…

18 October by WeatherNation
Follow Us