As California continues to recover from the historic 2020 fire season, and faces continued severe fire threat and extreme drought conditions in 2021, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is deploying new resources to protect California communities and augment the state’s fire and rescue mutual aid system.
Today, Cal OES transferred nine new Type VI engines and one Type III engine to local fire jurisdictions as part of the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System.
Established in 1950, California’s fire and rescue mutual aid system is a one-of-a-kind partnership between state and local government that provides equipment and personnel surge capacity to protect the state during wildfires and other hazards.
With this delivery, Cal OES has a fleet of 114 Type 1 fire engines, 68 Type 3 fire engines, and 34 Type 6 fire engines in-service across California.
These transfers are part of a substantial fire engine order that strategically places a total of 160 fire engines with local fire agencies throughout California to combat wildfires and respond to other disasters and emergencies.
The Type VI engines were transferred to the following Region II fire agencies:
San Mateo Consolidated Fire Department (2)
South San Francisco Fire Department
Central County Fire Department
San Bruno Fire Department
Encinitas Fire Department
Riverside Fire Department
Oceanside Fire Department
Murrieta Fire Department
The Type III engine was transferred to:
Oceanside Fire Department
“With unprecedented drought, the wildfire season is anticipated to be larger and more destructive,” said Cal OES Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Marshall. “These additional fire engines in the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System give additional surge capacity to help firefighters control wildfires when they are small. These fire engines will often be prepositioned in areas that have extremely high fire potential due to severe weather.”
The Cal OES Fire and Rescue Division coordinates the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, which moves local government resources across the state in support of all-risk emergency response on behalf of local, state, and federal government fire organizations. Cal OES assigns local government fire agencies with fire apparatus to maintain surge capacity during day-to-day duties and major events/emergencies.
Through a contractual agreement between Cal OES and the local government fire agencies, the state permits the use of the fire engines for mutual aid responses, local multiple alarm fires, temporary replacement for out of service engines, training, and other local, state, and federal needs. In return, the assignee is required to dispatch the engine with the required personnel to any emergency.
Each year, Cal OES purchases engines for local fire jurisdictions statewide. In the last two fiscal years, Cal OES delivered 48 expansion engines and replaced 25 engines to over 60 fire jurisdictions across the state. In 2020, 131 Cal OES engines and 317 local government engines were moved to regions to support firefighting efforts and all-risk events. Cal OES filled more than 12,500 requests for local government fire engine support in 2020 and more than 6,000 appeals for staff support.
Already in 2021, more than 50 Cal OES engines and 40 local government engines have been moved to regions in advance of the wildfire season and all-risk events. Additional expansion engines will be delivered in the next several months.
As added value, each fire apparatus that is transferred to a local jurisdiction can also be made available for pre-incident deployment by Cal OES in anticipation of an emergency such as a debris flow or wildfire. This prepositioning gives fire fighters the advantage of reducing response time by being near high-threat areas.