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Cal OES tasks Cal Guard to Mobilize Firefighting Airtankers for Major Wildfires

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – At the request of the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection (CAL FIRE), the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing mobilized two C-130J Hercules aircraft this morning to support firefighting efforts at the Rocky Fire in Lake County and other wildfires across Northern California. Each aircraft is equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS), which can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds. The CAL FIRE request came late last evening through the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

“The men and women of the 146th Airlift Wing respond eagerly to support CAL FIRE in their battle against the wildfires in our state,” said Col. David Bakos, 146th Airlift Wing Commander. “We bring skilled and highly-trained personnel with the latest in aerial firefighting equipment to the fight, and this year we are once again trained and ready to meet the challenge.”

The state-of the-art C130J aircraft departed at about 10 a.m. from Channel Islands Air National Guard Base and arrived at their staging area in Sacramento around noon. The MAFFS-equipped airtankers can discharge their 3,000 gallons of water or retardant over an area one-quarter of a mile long by 60-feet wide, and can refill in less than 12 minutes.

“Once again, our decades long cooperative relationship is paying dividends by providing these resources during a time when drought conditions and lightning are creating significant challenges for firefighters battling multiple large blazes across Northern California,” said Chief Dave Teter, CAL FIRE’s deputy director for fire protection.

With the addition of the two C130J airtankers, 12 Cal Guard aircraft are now active in supporting CAL FIRE, including four UH-60 Black Hawk, three CH-47 Chinook, two LUH-72 Lakota and one HH-60 Black Hawk medevac helicopters. The aircraft provide water bucket, medical evacuation and personnel and equipment transportation capabilities.

Currently, 8,000 firefighters are battling more than 18 large wildfires across the state. California’s dry drought conditions and strong winds have made for erratic fire conditions and rapid rates of spread.
“Specialized aircraft like these provide firefighters another tactical resource to help limit the impacts of aggressive wildfires,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of Cal OES. “Combined with the engines and other resources already positioned by the federal, state and local partners, incident managers have additional flexibility in the approaches they can take to contain and eventually control fires when they occur.”

Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in California to Bolster Wildfire Response

Photo of California Governor Jerry BrownSACRAMENTO – With wildfires burning across the state – exacerbated by severe drought conditions and extreme weather – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today declared a state of emergency in California to help mobilize additional firefighting and disaster response resources.
“California’s severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox,” said Governor Brown. “Our courageous firefighters are on the front lines and we’ll do everything we can to help them.”  
The full text of the proclamation is below:


Cal OES Technology Gives Real-Time View of Aerial Fight of the Willow Fire

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services utilizes many different kinds of tools in its arsenal to help fight fires going on around the state of California.  One them is the Rescue Mobile Communication Unit 5265 (MCV ). A recent upgrade now allows Cal OES to stream video captured by its camera. In this instance the MCV is assigned to the Willow Fire in USFS Sierra National Forest in the North Fork area of Madera County.

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Willow Fire Information Update

Location: Willow Canyon Dr. X Rd 274 – North Fork area
Start Time: 07/25/15 at 1352 hours
Per CAL FIRE and ICS-209 as of 07/31/15 at 0539 hours:
• 4394 acres, 30% contained
• Steep terrain with limited access for equipment.
• Structure threat: 450 single residences, 5 Mixed commercial/residential
• Incident is in unified command with CALFIRE (MMU), USFS (SNF),
• Resources: 1920 personnel assigned

• The Cascadel area (approximately 200 homes) was evacuated Thursday morning on 07/30/15.
• Evacuations of multiple campgrounds and Central Camp (Private in-holding consisting of approximately 100 private cabins).

• A Cal OES Fire Branch Assistant Chief is deployed to this incident
• Cal OES Law Branch, Assistant Chief Dennis Smithson is deployed to this incident

For additional information on all major fires burning in California click here.

Cal OES Fire & Rescue Branch

California Wildfire Activity (ARCGIS)

Cal OES Tasks Cal Guard Helicopters to Join State and Local Agencies in Fighting Northern California Wildfires

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – At the request of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) the California National Guard mobilized nine of its helicopters this morning to help battle Northern California wildfires. The request came last evening through the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

The nine Army National Guard aircraft active in supporting CAL FIRE include four UH-60 Black Hawk, two CH-47 Chinook, two LUH-72 Lakota and one HH-60 Black Hawk medevac helicopters. The aircraft provide water bucket, medical evacuation and personnel and equipment transportation capabilities.

“CAL FIRE’s long standing relationship with the California National Guard allows for seamless activation of these resources,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “This activation will provide additional equipment and personnel to augment our forces during the high level of fire activity we are experiencing across the state.”

Currently, firefighting resources are on more than a dozen large wildfires around the state. California’s dry drought conditions and strong winds have made for erratic fire conditions and rapid rates of spread.

“Our partners at the Cal Guard are stepping up with these aircraft to assist our local communities already in the fire fight,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “The mutual aid system here in California is world class and allows us to reach out to Cal Guard and others to support major incidents like these fires.”

Last year, the Cal Guard aircraft dropped more than 1.2 million gallons of water and retardant on wildfires across California. The aircraft also collected nearly 200 hours of valuable video, streaming real-time and thermal imagery of the fires to incident commanders on the ground. In addition, about 300 Cal Guardsmen were trained as ground crews to help contain the fires.

“Responding to state emergencies is what distinguishes the National Guard from the rest of the Armed Forces,” said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, California’s Adjutant General. “Whether its wildfires or people in distress, Cal Guardsmen train year-round with CAL FIRE and Cal OES to ensure we’re ready to respond when our neighbors need us most.”


DHS Announces 2015 Preparedness Grant Programs Award and Allocation Information


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced final awards and allocations for Fiscal Year 2015 preparedness grant programs. The preparedness grant programs include:

  • Homeland Security Grant Program
    • State Homeland Security Program
    • Urban Area Security Initiative
    • Operation Stonegarden
  • Emergency Management Performance Grant Program
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program
  • Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program
  • Intercity Passenger Rail Program – (Amtrak) Program
  • Port Security Grant Program
  • Transit Security Grant Program
  • Intercity Bus Security Grant Program

The $1.6 billion in preparedness grants are part of DHS’s ongoing efforts to support state, local, tribal, territorial partners, non-profit agencies, and the private sector with preparedness efforts. Read the DHS’s announcement for more details HERE.

Additional resources:

Cal OES Planning and Preparedness

Cal OES Grants Management

Cal OES Homeland Security Grants Program

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA Grants

Federal Grants Homepage

Cal OES Tasks Cal Guard to Launch Remotely Piloted Aircraft To Search El Dorado National Forest for Missing Person

cng_oes_letterheadAt the request of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the California National Guard launched a Remotely Piloted Aircraft at 10:20 a.m. today to help search for a 46-year-old man who went missing Saturday while biking in the El Dorado National Forest. This is the first time such a vehicle has been used by the National Guard to aid a search-and-rescue effort.
“In 2013, Cal Guard’s remotely piloted aircraft aided firefighters during the Rim Fire, and now—for the first time ever—it is helping an active search-and-rescue mission,” said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, California’s Adjutant General. “This technology helps the search-and-rescue mission by traveling where manned aircraft cannot safely fly, and transmitting valuable information back to rescue crews.”
The remotely piloted aircraft, an Air National Guard MQ-9 Reaper, departed the March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, California this morning. Equipped with infrared sensors, image-intensified cameras and laser illuminators, it is bolstering the active search-and-rescue efforts in the national forest by providing detailed aerial pictures that are instantly relayed to National Guard ground crews and their civilian partners.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s request for use of the remotely piloted aircraft came to the Cal Guard’s leadership last night through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, which provides the Cal Guard oversight in its state emergency-response missions. On average, the Cal Guard responds to a state incident, including wildfires and search-and-rescue missions, once every three days.
“Having access to mutual aid resources like this is an amazing asset for our state and our local counterparts in times of crisis,” said California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci. “We hope that this aircraft is able to provide El Dorado County with valuable information to the on-the-ground personnel involved in this search-and-rescue mission.”
The Cal Guard has previously used its remotely piloted aircraft for state emergency-response missions when it supported firefighting efforts at Yosemite National Park during the 2013 Rim Fire. During that mission, the MQ-1 Predator provided aerial imagery in support of interagency firefighters on the ground as they battled the third-largest fire in California’s history. Today’s flight is the first time such an aircraft has been used by the National Guard for a search-and-rescue mission.
Cal Guard and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services remind the public that privately owned “unmanned aircraft ” should not be flown near search-and-rescue or firefighting activities because this can interfere with public safety operations and put lives at risk.   

Cal OES Recognized for its Commitment to Individuals with Disabilities

CalOES-Verticle-Small-JPGThe California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services was honored today by the Department of Rehabilitation, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon’s office and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty for its efforts and achievements to provide accessibility to individuals with disabilities.

The ceremony was held in honor of the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At the ceremony, Cal OES was recognized for the development of online training for the physical accessibility of emergency shelters and recovery centers. The training was targeted at architects, civil engineers, building officials, Red Cross emergency shelter workers and others to ensure the safety and survival of persons with disabilities in emergency situations.

Cal OES is committed to working on important issues affecting individuals with disabilities. In January 2008, the Office of Access and Functional Needs (OAFN) was established at Cal OES to identify the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs before, during, and after a disaster and to integrate disability needs and resources into emergency management systems. Governor Brown recently appointed Luis Vance Taylor as the Chief of Cal OES access and functional needs.

Other state agencies also recognized for their commitment to accessibility and opportunities for individuals with disabilities:

  • California Department of Human Resources and State Personnel Board
  • California Department of Technology
  • California Department of Transportation
  • Department of Fair Employment and Housing
  • Department of General Services
  • Employment Development Department
  • Parks and Recreation



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