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California Sends Firefighting Assistance to Nevada as High Winds Spread Wildfires

by on August 12, 2012
Aerial Photo of Browns Gulch Fire provided by the Bureau of Land Management

Browns Gulch Fire – part of the “complex” of wildfires burning in northern Nevada. Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management – Elko Nevada.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., (August 12, 2012) – As high temperatures persist and significant wildfires continue to burn throughout the western United States, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. sent much-needed mutual aid firefighting assistance to Nevada to assist local firefighters battling the 36,850 acre Bull Run Fire Complex north of Elko, Nevada.

Fire perimeter map of wildfires burning in Nevada.

Fire perimeter map of wildfires burning in Nevada. Click on map for more information.

The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) coordinated the deployment of two firefighting strike teams from California on Saturday.  The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) dispatched five specially equipped wildland fire engines and 20 personnel as one team and Marin County provided an additional team of five engines and personnel through the state’s mutual aid program.  Both strike teams met in Auburn early Sunday and are on the way to Mountain City, Nevada.

“We’ve relied on help from our neighboring states in years past and we know how difficult these fires can be to fight, especially in this high heat,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency.  “We carefully balance our needs here in California before we send any personnel or equipment out of state,” he said.

The Bull Run Complex of fires started on Wednesday, August 9 and was sparked by lighting, according to Bureau of Land Management, Elko District.  As of Saturday evening, the fires had burned over 34,500 acres of grass, sage brush, pinyon-juniper, buck brush on various lands approximately 8 miles west of Mountain City, Nevada.

Over 554 firefighters have been faced with extremely difficult terrain, temperatures near 100 degrees and strong winds were rapidly spreading the wildfire since it began.  Firefighters have contained 30% of the fires so far.

A strike team of California Emergency Management Agency mutual aid wildfire engines at the “Chips” fire in Plumas County. (Photo by Cal EMA Assistant Chief John Clary)

In California, three significant fires continue to burn in Kern, San Diego and Plumas Counties. The “Chips Incident” is a wildfire burning 20 miles northwest of Quincy near Beldon in Plumas County.  Since it began on July 29th, flames have scorched over 30,000 acres and is currently 8 percent contained.  In San Diego County, the “Chihuahua Incident” is a wildfire near Sunshine Summit and has burned 1,901 acres and is 80 percent contained.  This wildfire began on August 8th.   The “Jawbone Incident” is a wildfire burning 20 miles north of Mojave, California. It has burned 7,486 acres and is 25% contained as of Sunday.

In addition to resources from local governments fighting fires in California, Cal EMA currently has 27 mutual aid strike teams comprised of 135 engines and 513 personnel deployed to various fires throughout the state.

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Cal EMA is responsible for the coordination of overall state agency response to major disasters in support of local government. The agency is responsible for assuring the state’s readiness to respond to and recover from all hazards – natural, manmade, war-caused emergencies and disasters – and for assisting local governments in their emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and hazard mitigation efforts. Visit us online at or @calema on Twitter and get the latest news at

From → Press Releases

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