California News

Friday, September 17, 2021

Firefighter’s Best Friend: Therapy Dogs Serve as Welcome Distraction for Wildfire Crews

Firefighter Kevin Brown had been on the front lines for 11 straight days, facing flames from a wildfire scorching Southern California. His body was exhausted. His spirit was waning. Rejuvenation was desired, but it would have to wait. Brown and his fellow firefighters were called to battle another wildfire that had broken out in the Bay Area. The team packed up their gear, hopped in the fire engine and made the hours-long drive north to the SCU Complex Fire burning in the hills outside San Jose. As the engine pulled into a parking lot at the fire's base camp, Brown received a much-needed boost from a new furry friend on four legs: Micah, a golden retriever serving as a therapy dog. "The moment we pull into the SCU base camp, Micah was waiting for us," Brown said.

General Sherman, the worlds largest tree, wrapped in aluminum as wildfire burns in Sequoia National Park

Firefighters wrapped the base of the world’s largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they tried to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning Thursday in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada. The colossal General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest, some other sequoias, the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings were wrapped as protection against the possibility of intense flames, fire spokeswoman Rebecca Paterson said. The aluminum wrapping can withstand intensive heat for short periods. Federal officials say they have been using the material for several years throughout the U.S. West to protect sensitive structures from flames. Near Lake Tahoe, some homes that were wrapped in protective material survived a recent wildfire while others nearby were destroyed.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Los Angeles city firefighters suing over COVID vaccine mandate

Hundreds of Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters are joining the legal battle against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Last month, the Los Angeles City Council approved a vaccine mandate for city employees. Los Angeles Police Department officers filed a lawsuit Saturday, and now firefighters are planning a legal fight of their own. John Knox, a firefighter and paramedic, said firefighters’ rights “are being violated” by the vaccine mandate. “You go from everyone thanking you one day for doing your job and coming and helping them in their time of need throughout this pandemic, now all of the sudden, you’re a villain,” Knox said.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Firefighters stop forward progress of Oroville fire

An Oroville man was arrested for starting a fire that broke out in Oroville on Thursday, according to Oroville Police Department. The report of the fire came in around noon and was threatening multiple homes. CAL FIRE said the fire burned in an area between homes but the fire did not cause any damage to the structures. Officials said they arrested a person who is facing a charge of arson to property. Oroville Police Department said the man was recklessly mowing in the field knowing there was a high risk of fire danger. 57-year-old David Walker of Oroville continued to mow and caused a fire that got out of control, according to police. Police said the man doesn't live at the address but offered to mow the yard a few weeks ago but mowed it Thursday. The fire was stopped at about eight acres, according to officials.
KHSL-TV CBS 12 Chico

Major fires continue to grow slowly as rain approaches the Northstate

Major fires burning across the Northstate continue to grow slowly ahead of rain forecasted over the weekend. The Dixie Fire grew by only 111 acres overnight and containment remains at 86%. The second-largest fire in state history has burned a total of 960,581 acres. The Monument Fire burned an additional 1,176 acres overnight. The destructive fire has burned 217,120 acres across parts of Trinity County. Containment is still at 50%. The River Complex grew by 747 acres overnight and containment increased by 5%. The complex of fires in the Trinity Alps has burned 189,832 acres and is 45% contained. The McCash Fire burning in the western portion of the Marble Mountains Wilderness saw the most growth overnight. The fire grew by 1,860 acres with no change in containment.
KRCR-TV ABC 7 Redding

Thursday, September 16, 2021

San Diego County’s First ’Heli-Hydrant’ Provides Lifesaving Fill-Up Station for Firefighting Helicopters

It looks like an above-ground pool with an amazing view of Fallbrook. Then a helicopter thunders overhead, hovers only a few feet above the pool and dips a large tube into the water. The large round metal tub is actually San Diego County’s first rapid aerial water supply. The folks who built it call it a helicopter hydrant; heli-hydrant for short. “This is critically important,” said North County Fire Protection District Chief Keith McReynolds. “It’s going to be incredibly beneficial for not only the Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Rainbow area, but for the entire region.” Just like a fire hydrant makes it easy for a firetruck to get water, the heli-hydrant makes it easier for firefighting helicopters to get water in the North County mountains. A helicopter lowers its snorkel into the hydrant, takes what it needs, and flies back to the fire. The heli-hydrant will then automatically refill for the next helicopter.
KNSD-TV NBC 7 San Diego

Veteran Oakland firefighter to become next Alameda chief

A veteran Oakland firefighter will become the next chief of the Alameda Fire Department. Nick Luby, currently an assistant chief in Oakland, will take over the top spot, Alameda City Manager Eric Levitt announced Wednesday. Levitt initially said he was “very close to finalizing all the details” of the appointment in a Sept. 7 email to the City Council and top city officials. Luby will start Oct. 18. “I have found Nick to be an experienced leader and believe he will be a great fit for the city of Alameda,” Levitt said in the email. Luby will replace Edmond Rodriguez, who took over as chief in November 2017 from Doug Long, who retired a few weeks earlier after serving over 29 years as an Alameda firefighter. In March last year, Rodriguez went on medical leave. He did not return to duty and officially stepped down in December, Levitt said.
San Jose Mercury News

2-Alarm Blaze Damages Cluttered LaFayette Home

A 2-alarm fire erupted inside a cluttered home near downtown Lafayette early Thursday morning, heavily damaging the building before firefighters were able to bring it under control and prevent it from spreading to a nearby auto shop. Lafayette Fire Battalion Chief Whit MacDonald said crews responded to calls reporting the blaze around 12:08 a.m. near the intersection of Golden Gate Way and Second Street. “When we got on scene the downstairs of the two-story residence was on fire,” he said. Immediately, crews ran into problem entering the home because it was cluttered with debris. A second alarm was called in to bring additional resources to fight the blaze and prevent it from spreading. “We had a difficult time making entry into the house due to a lot of debris,” MacDonald said. “So we’ve had to stay defensive.”
KPIX-TV CBS 5 San Francisco

PG&E faces first lawsuits over massive Dixie Fire

In addition to a pending criminal investigation and potential federal probation violations, PG&E now faces lawsuits in the massive Dixie Fire, which is approaching 1 million acres in size after burning for two months. Lawyers for 200 people affected by the Dixie Fire filed suits in California courts this week and a small army of lawyers is advertising to recruit clients from the fire's massive burn scar. "The last thing we want is for people to be revictimized," Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister told public radio station KQED, cautioning victims not to feel rushed to sign agreements with any attorneys. The Dixie Fire, which started in the same canyon as the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings including the town of Greenville.
KXTV ABC 10 Sacramento

South Lake Tahoe is getting back to business after Caldor fire

The Caldor Fire isn't completely out yet, some evacuations remain in the fire area and part of Highway 50 is closed, but South Lake Tahoe says it's ready to open back up. It was just about two weeks ago that the City of South Lake Tahoe was forced to evacuate as the fire entered the Tahoe Basin, but thanks to the hard work of firefighters and a good 'perfect storm' the city was saved. Now, as people return to South Lake Tahoe, the city wants visitors to know it is ready for them too. In a press release, the City of South Lake Tahoe pointed to clear blue skies as a sign that the city is open for business. The city earlier projected that the Tahoe economy would lose about $40 million because of the Caldor Fire. The evacuations meant South Lake Tahoe and much of the lake were closed during the normally busy Labor Day weekend.
KXTV ABC 10 Sacramento

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