CDF stations go to peak staffing

archive_import

By LENORE RUTHERFORD

The Tuolumne-Calaveras unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will go to peak summertime staffing Monday morning.

That's when the CDF firefighting and administrative staff will increase from about 130 to 250 people and stay that way until autumn storms lessen fire dangers, said Unit Chief Fred McVay.

A spotter plane and two air tankers will be based at Columbia Air Attack Base starting Monday in addition to the helicopter already there. Two bulldozers will also be based within the unit for use in fighting wildfires.

The number of fire engines will be increased from 15 to 21.

The unit has 15 fire stations in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

It also has use of 10 trained inmate crews of about 18 people each, five based at Vallecito Conservation Camp and five at Baseline Conservation Camp.

The inmate crews are available year-round. When fire danger is low and they aren't needed for flood control, they work on various public projects for government agencies.

"They take their fire fighting training very seriously all year long," said McVay, "but they have the ability to do many other things. There's a lot of skill on those (inmate) crew buses."

Southern California has been in a summertime firefighting mode virtually all winter, said McVay, because it had significantly less rain than normal during the 2001-02 winter.

"We had 80 to 90 percent of normal precipitation here," said McVay, "so it's not as bad, but we are a statewide resource. When we have to send equipment and people to other areas, that could affect the travel times to some fires here.

"On the other hand, we are fortunate to always have good resources for an initial attack, and great cooperation with local governments and fire (agencies)."

11700390
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Wednesday August 24, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
More than a coach

08/17/2016

Thomas Kruetzfeldt had just returned from a late afternoon run with his ... more

Cal Fire battalion chief remembered

08/15/2016

Whenever Mike Spear’s children heard of a nearby fire, they worried about ... more

Sonora area group launches a new radio station

08/18/2016

First envisioned more than a decade ago, a Sonora-area radio station with ... more

Nursed back to health, hawk flies free

08/19/2016

Sonora resident Laura Reid was driving on Tuolumne Road when she saw ... more

No immunizations, no school in California

08/17/2016

Cyndra Joaquin, cradling her three-month-old during a recent visit to the health ... more