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Vandenberg supports California firefighting efforts

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aubree Milks
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs

  Vandenberg’s fire department supports upper California’s wildfire season Aug. 17, 2018 in Carr, California.

A fire broke loose July 26th, 2018 near Redding in Carr, California. Vandenberg Fire Department sent a total of 12 firemen to create dispatch teams and subdue the fire.

“Our main mission while assisting the Carr fire was to provide overall fire support,” said Robert Raffel, Vandenberg Fire Station 2 captain.

In efforts to contain the fire, firefighters from different stations and counties with joining specialties were called to assist.

“At the peak of the fire the total personnel assigned was over 4,000, with 327 engines, 13 helicopters, 77 dozers, and 119 water tenders,” said Phil Cucchiarelli, Vandenberg Fire Station 4 captain. “As of August 14, the fire was 65 percent contained and over 211,000 acres were burned.”

The fire department strategically placed their personnel and engines where they needed to put out the fire.

“Every day we staffed a Type 1 strike team and a Type 3 strike team,” said Raffel.

Cities rely on Type 1 fire engine based on flexibility, staffing, and the ability to operate at homes, apartments, businesses, and high rise buildings.  A Type 3 fire engine is specifically designed to assist in fighting wildfires by transporting firefighters to the scene and providing them with access to the fire, along with water or other equipment.  

“We were assigned to the fire, but due to extreme fire behavior on the first evening, Redding Fire Department needed our assistance,” said Raffel. “We worked out of their station for 48 hours, and were the city’s first responders for the two day period.” 

Although the fire took lives, homes and land, the Redding-Carr community did not let this tear them apart. The firemen noticed the abundance of support from the community while working the fire.

“There were signs up everywhere, everyone was waiving, and people were shaking hands, giving hugs and cookies,” said Cucchiarelli.

By providing support to neighboring fire departments, Vandenberg’s firemen bring back more knowledge in their job to keep our community safe while protecting the great state of California.