Every year, California experiences thousands of wildfires throughout the state. However, this year, the state experienced fewer devastating wildfires than years past. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) worked throughout wildfire season with local, state, federal and tribal partners to respond to fire starts and help keep people safe.
Since July 1, 2023, through the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, Cal OES deployed 176 Cal OES fire engines to 18 major wildfires across the state. In addition, Cal OES deployed 597 local government firefighters to help battle the blazes.
“Utilizing our partnerships across the state, Cal OES was able to place the right resources in the right areas to keep people safe,” said Cal OES Director Nancy Ward. “Along with continued investments in technology, the state is taking steps to fight fires where they start and reduce the impacts on all Californians.”
CALIFORNIA FIRE AND RESCUE MUTUAL AID SYSTEM
Facilitated through Cal OES, the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System deploys a fleet of fire engines across over local partners to rapidly respond to wildfires or any all-hazard events across the state.
Working to keep Californians safe from wildfires, Cal OES prepositioned fire engines and firefighting personnel across the state for 17 different events this year in areas most at risk of wildfires.
In addition, helping our neighbors to the north, Cal OES deployed 25 Cal OES fire engines and 125 local government firefighters to assist with fires burning in Oregon and following a devastating wildfire in Lahaina, Cal OES deployed 101 local government firefighters and three Cal OES fire and rescue personnel.
The engines Cal OES assigns to local partners include:
- Type I engines are the largest in the Cal OES firefighting fleet, and they’re mainly used for structure firefighting and defense. These engines can also be used for search and rescue, but aren’t intended for off road missions.
- Type III engines are mostly used for wildland fire response.
- Type VI engines, able to carry a 4-person crew, are the smallest of the fleet.
- Water tenders carry water to support firefighting operations.
Through the mutual aid system, each of these engines play an important part in saving lives and protecting property statewide.
STATE INVESTMENTS IN EMERGENCY SERVICES
As the state faces increased challenges during fire season and throughout the year, Cal OES has dedicated enhanced technology, more personnel and additional equipment to help keep Californians safe, including:
- Fire Integrated Real-Time Intelligence System (FIRIS)
- An all-hazard, crewed fixed-wing aircraft utilizing cutting-edge sensors and substantial computing power to provide enhanced information within minutes of arriving to an incident
- California Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center
- Serves as California’s integrated central organizing hub for wildfire forecasting, weather information and threat intelligence gathering and analysis
- Next-Generation Situation Awareness and Collaboration Tool (Next-Gen SCOUT)
- Provides the first responder community and supporting agencies a web-based tactical and operational response platform to assist with communication, coordination and collaboration
WORKING TO BUILD A MORE RESILIENT CALIFORNIA
The state is also investing millions of dollars to protect our most as-risk communities, ensuring they have the outreach and education needed to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters of all kinds, including wildfires.
You can learn more at Listos California where there’s culturally competent resiliency resources in many languages.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TIPS
We all have a role to play when it comes to being prepared for emergencies of all types. It’s important to communicate with your family about what to do during an emergency.
- Sign up to get alerts at Listos Alerts
- Make a plan with family and neighbors
- Pack a go bag with essential items for you, your family and your pets
- Learn several routes out of your neighborhood in case you need to evacuate
- Help friends and neighbors get ready