Quick response by Vandenberg and local agencies keep base operational
By Senior Airman Wesley Carter, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 01, 2009
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg's emergency response teams, as well as other local emergency agencies, responded to a fire near Vandenberg Middle School here Sept. 30 at approximately 11:45 a.m.
The fire quickly spread north toward Vandenberg Village, approximately 450 acres have burned, but was halted when fire crews made a stand to contain the fire at Pine Canyon.
Due to the quick reaction of Vandenberg's emergency responders, there were no injuries or structural damage by the blaze. In a matter of a couple hours, 10 aircraft, 20 fire engines and six bulldozers were fighting the fire. Approximately 96 buildings were evacuated.
"This fire was the best example of how the mutual aid agreements we have with local agencies works," said Vandenberg Fire Chief Mark Farias. "Usually it is us helping local emergency responders out, but it is good to know when we need support from them they are here. The fire is currently 80 percent contained, and we expect to have full containment this afternoon."
Currently, 14 different fire units are working to ensure the fire doesn't pick back up with changing wind conditions. No personnel have been reported injured during the fire.
At this time, all base gates and facilities have re-opened; however, base leadership is urging people on base to limit outdoor exposure due to smoke from the fire. Breakers dining facility is open to all mission-essential personnel today including officers, civilians and contractors.
The teams responding to the fire are not beginners when it comes to wild land blazes.
Vandenberg's Fire Department is recognized as the best in the Department of Defense. Their hard work has prevented this fire from impacting Vandenberg's mission contributions to air, space and cyberspace, said Col. David Buck, 30th Space Wing commander.