First re­spon­ders strate­gize plans of at­tack for beat­ing deadly Camp Fire

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - CAMP FIRE -

The evac­u­a­tion cen­ter at the Yuba-sutter Fair­grounds has plenty of cots avail­able for evac­uees of the Camp Fire.

Yuba-sutter of­fi­cials are pitch­ing in to help their neigh­bors. Law en­force­ment of­fi­cers have been help­ing with evac­u­a­tions and traf­fic con­trol; county and city of­fi­cials are aid­ing in re­lief ef­forts; and fire­fight­ers push­ing back against the flames.

Marysville Fire Chief Ron Karlen was work­ing in the re­source unit – track­ing, ac­count­ing and order­ing re­sources like fire en­gines, hand crews, bull­doz­ers and wa­ter ten­ders as needed to sup­port other crews on the ground, such as Yuba-sutter strike teams. Karlen said re­sources are be­ing split be­tween the Butte County fire and the two in Ven­tura County, pos­ing a chal­lenge for get­ting caught up.

Part of Karlen’s job is de­vel­op­ing a strat­egy for the next few days, as well as bal­anc­ing du­pli­cate re­sources be­tween fire crews who are fight­ing and ones tak­ing a break – they work in 24-hour shifts. As of Fri­day af­ter­noon, a con­tain­ment line had not yet been es­tab­lished.

“(Thurs­day) was to­tally fo­cused on evac­u­a­tions and per­form­ing res­cues,” Karlen said Fri­day.

Of­fi­cials are look­ing at an­other wind event pick­ing up this week­end which could com­pound the fire fur­ther. Though con­cern­ing, it’s not ab­nor­mal, es­pe­cially with the fire con­di­tions the state has seen this year.

“We have no foothold on the fires, so it could burn in any di­rec­tion,” he said.

But he said crews re­main con­fi­dent in their plans to fight back, though it’s a game of en­durance and try­ing to keep fo­cused.

“It’s like rid­ing a bull,” Karlen said. “You’re just try­ing to hold on for the eight sec­onds and hope for the best.”

The Camp Fire has burned more than 90,000 acres and was only 5 per­cent con­tained, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Calfire up­date, as of Fri­day evening. At least nine peo­ple have been killed. In a press con­fer­ence Fri­day morn­ing, of­fi­cials dis­cussed the statewide red flag warn­ing, and said they were re­quest­ing aid from sur­round­ing states – though they’re chal­lenged by the fires in North­ern and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

“The mag­ni­tude of destruc­tion we’re see­ing is again, un­be­liev­able and heart­break­ing,” Cal­i­for­nia Of­fice of Emer­gency Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Mark Ghi­lar­ducci said dur­ing the press con­fer­ence. “We’ve got all hands on deck.”

Calfire Di­rec­tor Ken Pim­lott said the fire was im­me­di­ately met with 40 mph winds that grew to thou­sands of acres in just min­utes. He en­cour­aged res­i­dents to fol­low law en­force­ment direc­tions, heed evac­u­a­tion warn­ings and to look out for neigh­bors.

“It goes right back to our mes­sage,” he said, “ev­ery day is fire sea­son some­where in Cal­i­for­nia.”

Rachel Rosen­baum/ap­peal-demo­crat

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.