An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

Vandenberg firefighters help battle La Brea blaze

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A firefighter looks on as the La Brea fire blazes through the hills of the Los Padres National Forest here Aug. 13. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire in support of fire departments from around the state of California.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A firefighter looks on as the La Brea fire blazes through the hills of the Los Padres National Forest here Aug. 13. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire in support of fire departments from around the state of California.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. --  An Ericcson Skycrane departs after filling up with 2,000 gallons of flame retardant to drop on the persistent La Brea wildfire here Aug. 13. Vandenberg firefighters have deployed Fire Engine 43, Tender 5 (a water tender), Hot Shot crewmembers and a helicopter support manager to help stop the fire.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- An Ericcson Skycrane departs after filling up with 2,000 gallons of flame retardant to drop on the persistent La Brea wildfire here Aug. 13. Vandenberg firefighters have deployed Fire Engine 43, Tender 5 (a water tender), Hot Shot crewmembers and a helicopter support manager to help stop the fire. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. --  As the La Brea wildfire burns, an Ericcson Skycrane drops flame retardent to slow the blaze here Aug. 14. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire, which has already burned across 48,457 acres of land and caused the evacuation of 150 residences. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- As the La Brea wildfire burns, an Ericcson Skycrane drops flame retardent to slow the blaze here Aug. 14. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire, which has already burned across 48,457 acres of land and caused the evacuation of 150 residences. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. --  The La Brea fire blazes through the hills of the Los Padres National Forest here Aug. 13. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire in support of fire departments from California to Delaware. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The La Brea fire blazes through the hills of the Los Padres National Forest here Aug. 13. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire in support of fire departments from California to Delaware. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. --  Staff Sgt. Amber Ketchum of the 30th Space Wing documents the devastation left behind from the La Brea wildfire here Aug. 14. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire in support of fire departments from California to Delaware. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Amber Ketchum of the 30th Space Wing documents the devastation left behind from the La Brea wildfire here Aug. 14. Vandenberg firefighters have responded to the fire in support of fire departments from California to Delaware. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. --  Charred trees and shrubs are all that's left behind on the hills of the Los Padres National Forest since the La Brea wildfire started here Aug. 8. Vandenberg firefighters are assisting with fighting the fire, performing duties such as refilling fire engines with water, engaging the fire line and securing areas around structures and personal property. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Charred trees and shrubs are all that's left behind on the hills of the Los Padres National Forest since the La Brea wildfire started here Aug. 8. Vandenberg firefighters are assisting with fighting the fire, performing duties such as refilling fire engines with water, engaging the fire line and securing areas around structures and personal property. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Twenty-eight firefighters from Vandenberg's 30th Civil Engineer Squadron continue to prevent the spread of the La Brea wildfire raging through the hills of the Los Padres National Forest.

The State of California called upon the help of Vandenberg's firefighters to extinguish the blaze of a fire that started Aug. 8.

Vandenberg's firefighters can travel as far south as San Diego, and as far north as San Francisco, to help fire departments from around California ward off wildfires. The only instance Vandenberg's firefighters will not respond to a California wildfire in this region is if it would conflict with Vandenberg's mission.

The base's firefighters have deployed Fire Engine 43, Tender 5 (a water tender), Hot Shot crewmembers and a helicopter support manager. The firefighters, on two-week shift intervals, plan to fight the La Brea fire until it is extinguished.

The team of firefighters recently returned from the Ponderosa wildfire incident near King City.

The La Brea wildfire has currently burned through 48,457 acres of land and is continuing along its incinerating path, causing the evacuation of 150 residences.

Vandenberg's fire efforts are serving in multi-faceted arenas at the La Brea wildfire.

"Our firefighters are performing duties such as refilling fire engines with water, engaging the fire line and securing areas around structures and personal property," said Martin Silva, a 30th CES fire captain.

Vandenberg firefighter have also laid more than 1,000 feet of hose to help extinguish the fire.

Preserving a national forest against the forces of nature can be difficult on many levels.

"There are three elements that make fighting this fire difficult," Mr. Silva said. "Out here, we are up against the heat, wind and topography of the land."

The teams of firefighters are well aware of their purpose at the fire and know their priorities.

"Our main concerns out here are the safety of our firefighters and the protection of the environment." Mr. Silva said.

Although the work is hard and can be dangerous, the firefighters manage to maintain high morale.

"We are happy to help out the community," Mr. Silva said. "It is nice seeing all of the training we do pay off as progress is being made."