California National Guard and Cal FIRE fight deadly wildfires

Elizabeth Howe
November 14, 2018 - 8:53 am

Photo courtesy of Crystal Housman

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In the face of the deadliest California wildfire in history, the California National Guard's new M-model UH-60 helicopters are being called up to help fight the flames. The helicopters traveled from Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos to Sacramento Mather Airport in Mather, Ca. to assist. 

Photo courtesy of Crystal Housman

Military personnel from the California Department of Fire and Forestry (CAL FIRE) have also been activated to join California National Guard personnel on wildfire missions to add fire knowledge to the crew and serve as a liaison between the agency and the Guard.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Housman

Before this year's Camp Fire, the deadliest single fire on record in California was in 1933 and killed 29. The current death toll statewide is 50 with hundreds still missing. 

The Associated Press spoke with Harold Taylor, a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran at an evacuee shelter in Chico, Ca. Taylor said he received a call Thursday morning to evacuate immediately. He saw flames behind his house, left with the clothes on his back and barely made it out alive. 

He tried to convince his neighbor to get in his car and evacuate with him, but the neighbor declined. He doesn’t know if his neighbor made it out alive.

“We didn’t have 10 minutes to get out of there,” he said. “It was already in flames downtown, all the local restaurants, and stuff,” he said.

The AP also wrote "The cause of the fires remained under investigation, but they broke out around the time and place two utilities reported equipment trouble. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, who takes office in January, sidestepped questions about what action should be taken against utilities if their power lines are found to be responsible."

Thousands of homes have been lost across the state and hundreds are still missing.

California National Guard troops are being activated to follow behind fire crews and search for remains.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

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