Photos courtesy of Eileen Majors, USFS, and CalFire
Our immense thanks to every agency, landowner, business and individual involved in fighting fires in every corner of the North State. WE THANK YOU!
Firefighters in the region have been true heroes throughout our neighborhoods. Acts of kindness toward victims affected by the fire have been overwhelming. The love for this community is obvious, in the giving of aid and recovery efforts by so many.
To the brave men and women who supported and fought these fires, from the front lines, from helicopters and planes, from base camps and in all avenues, please know that you are greatly appreciated.
When Wildfires Hit
In today’s extreme conditions, wildfire has delivered devastating blows to Northern California, throughout our forest land and in city neighborhoods alike. Thousands of firefighters flooded into Northern California and delivered superior service amid extreme conditions; even loss of lives, of both local residents and those working to hold the line or fight the blaze. What stands in the aftermath and the devastation is the compassion shown for families who have lost lives and homes, and the deep appreciation felt for first responders and agency partners across the region.
Today we share with you some of the photos that captured our hearts, the camaraderie we saw among the agencies supplying the teamwork to get the fires under control and suppressed. Every agency, land owner and various entity involved in battling the blaze are among those being honored
in this special edition. It took a massive team of professionals to maintain safety, protect lives and property and for that, WE THANK YOU ALL!
Collaboration -Our Trip to Fire Camp
It was a hazy and smoky afternoon when I first spoke with Kristy Lanham, North Sierra Community Relations Manager for Sierra Pacific Industries in Anderson. We connected at 5:30 a.m. the next morning when the media and all agencies poured into Fire Camp for the Hirz Fire (in the City of Shasta Lake). Before the sun came up, we were surrounded by fire officials and representatives of several local and state agencies, as well as private companies and landowners. They were all there, and every day leading up to that day, for the morning update on the fire, current weather conditions and most importantly, the plan of attack, suppression efforts and safety reminders for the day. Roll call was taken. Each agency commander, corporation and support agencies involved in the fire fight would be called by name. All were present and all hands were on deck.
The details of the morning fire update included vital information on fire behavior, fuel and weather conditions along with detailed information for each area (or division) affected by the fire. This daily meeting contained critical data on hot spots, safety incidents or precautions and areas/divisions requiring special attention. Collaboration was the message I got, and clearly, every agency, independent contractor and corporation (big and small) was there for the same purpose, to coordinate and extinguish the fires. The feeling of camaraderie was most evident as those in uniform from a myriad of agencies gathered, throughout the camp, even reaching the parking lot. I saw how business and government work together, and they do it well. Amid tents and sleeping units, baths and showers, mess tents and portable offices, there was obvious collaboration and companionship around every corner. Officials from CalFire, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and countless others orchestrated the morning meeting seamlessly. It was one big show. A show of support for one another, for public safety, and every agency, corporation and other entity involved in fighting the fires ravaging Northern California. It was evident in their interactions, that they were committed and in it until the end. Not one person remained after the morning meeting broke- they all knew where they needed to be and their day’s work was underway.
How One Company Makes A Difference- Sierra Pacific Industries
In meeting Kristy Lanham, Herb Baldwin and Nick Kroencke of Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) at the Fire Camp, we witnessed the passion behind this company and to what extent SPI assists in fire prevention and suppression of forest fires. SPI crewmembers attend each of the Fire Camp Morning Meetings, along with countless agencies and companies represented at the Incident Command Centers. Herb told me about SPI’s long-standing commitment to forest management, which includes investing in mapping,
infrastructure, road networks, and water resources. They assist local, state and federal agencies by providing accurate and current local area information, which is very different than publicly-available maps and data. This collaboration aids firefighting efforts in a number of ways. SPI invests in these resources and believes this collective effort brings improved communications and a better understanding of the terrain fire agencies will encounter while fighting fire. The ultimate goal of this partnership is that it will lead to immediate, stronger and safer firefighting on the front line.
Not only during fire season, but throughout the year, SPI’s Research and Monitoring Department are on top of it. Their network of over ninety weather stations provide detailed weather and fire forecasting metrics to all individuals involved with companywide forestry operations. This critical weather information is utilized in fire behavior models and is made available to Incident Command Teams on fires. This information is vital and as soon as SPI receives notification of a fire, they are quick to call it in. They then might dispatch cats and dozers to their land to initiate fire protection measures in an attempt to save the timberland, depending on the incident. After local, state or federal agencies arrive, SPI works with them to share those initial attack contractors and their equipment while the U.S. Forest Service and Cal-Fire order their long term resources through a formal hiring system. This helps expedite the time spent getting equipment on the ground where needed.
SPI actively manages their land and make immense financial investments in reforesting land after fires. Nick told me how much it hurts, not just the company, but his crewmembers personally, when they lose young forests. The investment isn’t just monetary, it’s the time, personnel, precision and care the company pours into the seedlings, as they work to restore the forest. From young to mature forests, thousands of SPI acres were burned by these fires.
The magnitude of these North State fires spurred immediate responses from leaders across the state of California and our nation. SPI joined many other stakeholders impacted by these fires in conversations during their recent
visit to Redding and the surrounding area. The company shared how these fires impacted the land at the edge of these cities, rural communities and nearby forests. After witnessing the devastation, leaders spoke on how key it is for organizations to work together, government agencies and private landowners alike, to address future fire risk and improve fuels management across California’s richly forested landscape.
Ways to Help Out
There are several agencies that responded immediately to the fire relief and recovery efforts. They have established funds and programs in order to accept donations for fire victims and our community at-large. Fire officials recommended the following organizations, which they have partnered/coordinated efforts with:
The Shasta Regional Community Foundation has set up a special disaster relief fund for those in the North State impacted by the Carr Fire.
+1 (530) 244-1219 • www.ShastaCF.org
1335 Arboretum Drive, Suite B, Redding, CA 96003
Other agencies handling donations:
United Way of Northern California:
www.norcalunitedway.org or text CARRFIRE to 91999 to donate
Tri Counties Bank Carr Fire Fund: