With wildfires racing across large swaths of land in California, firefighters are accepting all the help they can get, including the help of our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are California Conservation Corps (CCC) conservationists, leading corpsmembers in the fight against fire, protecting homes, and running camps for weary crews.
For example, CSLEA Members and Conservationists Wyatt Clark and Jacob Bertolet deployed with their crews from the Butte Fire Center to the SCU Lightning Complex fire in San Joaquin County. They are instructing corpsmembers as they work to protect structures from approaching flames by cutting fire lines by hand and using back burns to cut off the fire before it reaches homes. The fire crews work 24 hour shifts on the fire line, followed by 24 hours of rest. The Butte crews have since been moved from the SCU Lightning Complex to the BTU Lightning Complex in Red Bluff.
More than 60 CCC conservationists have been deployed with their crews to the fire lines and fire base camps across the state since the fires broke out in August. Another approximately 20 conservationists have also been working fire base camps as CCC agency representatives.
“CCC conservationists in camp support online firefighters and crews by performing valuable work 16 hours a day,” said Shawn Fry, president of the Association of Conservationists (ACE), CSLEA Director and CCC conservationist. “This is an unprecedented fire season due to the severity of the fires and COVID-19. All CCC conservationists are working very hard to provide the services needed to fight fire and support fire crews. It’s teamwork, it’s imperative, and it is exhausting. I thank all of them for their service and their families for their sacrifices as their conservationists are away from home so long.”
Since Sunday August 16th, the CCC has responded to 19 fire incidents across the state and continue to dispatch crews to base camps and wildfires.