By FMESA President Daren Watkins
SACRAMENTO – For CALFIRE Communications Operators another extreme call to duty came in the late hours of December 4, 2017 as reports rushed in that a large fire in Ventura County had ignited. CALFIRE Communications Operators not only answer 911 calls, they assist in mobilizing crews, equipment and aircraft from throughout the state.
As the initial surge of requests started to filter around the state, a second fire ignited in Southern California, followed by a third. These fires are then prioritized in order to ensure the resources are being used in the best manor possible. As the fires grew in size and complexity, three CALFIRE incident management teams were deployed to take command of these incidents, while an additional team was prepositioned in Riverside County in the event a fourth fire ignited.
“Fire activity of this magnitude is not something we normally handle in December. This is the time of year where we typically get to go back to our families and catch up from being gone all summer,” said Daren Watkins, president of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Services Association (FMESA). FMESA represents CALFIRE Communications Operators. “I am very proud of all the ComOps statewide who continue to sacrifice time with their families in order to protect the citizens of California.”
The fires blazing throughout Southern California follow the deadly and devastating fires that broke out in October in Napa and Northern California regions. For a look at the role CALFIRE Communications Opertors had in the North Bay Fires, we invite you to view this video - CAL FIRE Communications Operators Emergency Response Roles in 2017 North Bay Fires