On-Scene with Woolsey and Hill Fires Incident Commander Kendra Bowyer; Debris Removal Progress

March 5th, 2019

Kendra Bowyer is the Incident Commander for the Woolsey and Hill Fire debris removal operations in Southern California. She has served in many other capacities in nearly a dozen previous debris Removal operations for the state of California since 2015.

Kendra Bower was hired as an Emergency Services Coordinator with CalOES in early 2018 following six years of emergency management in the private sector. She specializes in recovery and wildfire debris removal. Kendra loves the work she does because she feels that this is a way to truly give back to society, by helping those in need at a most crucial time in their lives. As a young adult, Kendra lost her childhood home in a tornado so, needless to say,  her passion and love for this work is directly influenced by her personal experience.

Links

Nearly 120 Properties Cleared of Woolsey, Hill Fire Debris

For more information in Los Angeles County, visit lacounty.gov/LACountyRecovers or call 1-626-979-5370.  For more information in Ventura County, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org or call 1-805-504-7869.

 

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CALFIRE’s Mike Mohler Indicates Paradigm Shift in the Wind for Wildland Fires in California Following Historical Disasters

January 29th, 2019

Mike MohlerIn this episode (# 57) we talk with Mike Mohler, Deputy Director of Communications for CALFIRE. In his current role, as well as his prior position as Battalion Chief at Southern Region, Mike has worked many of California’s biggest wildfire disasters, historical ones at that.  He talks about why there is no longer a “fire season” and how wildfires really are different from those just a few years ago. He discusses the challenges fire agencies have with the numerous factors contributing to year-round fires including fuels, drought, tree mortality, climate change and wildland-urban interface. He also addresses wildland management, the importance of Firewise communities, local government and community engagement, defensible space and thinking completely differently in order to mitigate future deadly mega-fires, and so much more.

As mentioned, Mike Mohler is currently the Deputy Director, Communications, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Mohler began his fire service career in 1991, as a reserve firefighter in Orange County, assigned to the heavy equipment and crew division. 

While working as a reserve, he attended the Santa Ana College fire science program and worked full time as a firefighter for Boeing’s Aeronautics and Missile Systems Division in Anaheim. Mike began his career with CAL FIRE in the San Bernardino Unit as a Firefighter I in June 2000. 

In May 2001, Mike promoted to Firefighter II in the Riverside Unit and in 2005, he promoted to Fire Apparatus Engineer. In 2010, Chief Mohler promoted to Fire Captain in the San Diego Unit.  In 2015, he promoted to Battalion Chief at Southern Region, where he worked for the next 3 years supervising the Southern Region information and communications programs. Mike was vital in continuing to build the Department’s nontraditional media exposure with projects such as Netflix’s Fire Chasers and Extreme Weather with National Geographic which has showcased our department worldwide.

Chief Mohler participates on several statewide cadres and working groups, including S-420, CIMCI and AAIMS.  He holds several qualifications, including Advanced All Hazard Incident Commander from the University of Texas A&M, and has been assigned to a CAL FIRE Incident Management Team for over 11 years. He currently holds a seat on FEMA’s advisory committee for response to large scale incidents. In addition to his Departmental assignments, Chief Mohler has also served as an Honor Guard member for over 17 years, honoring our fallen and supporting their families. Mike is currently enrolled in American Military University’s Emergency and Disaster Management program.

Links

FIRE SAFE COUNCIL

CALFIRE

Camp Fire on InciWeb

Thomas Fire on CalFire

Woolsey Fire on CalFire

Tubbs Fire on CalFire

 

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Podcast Episode 51: Yosemite National Park After the Ferguson Fire

October 1st, 2018

Yosemite National Park Rangers Scott Gediman and Jamie Richards

 

According to the national Park Service, Yosemite National Park was first protected in 1864 and is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias and a vast wilderness area. Recently, Yosemite is also known for its wildfires, the Rim Fire in 2013 and the Ferguson Fire in July and August of 2018.

In this episode of All Hazards, Park Rangers Scott Gediman and Jamie Richards talk about how the Ferguson Fire impacted the park, challenged them as rangers and as public affairs officers, and how they fought perceptions that the entire park was closed when in fact it was open.

Links

Experience Yosemite National Park in Virtual Reality with President Obama

NPS YouTube: YosemiteNationalPark

Mr. President Goes to Yosemite

Cal OES News

 

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International Mutual Aid to California: New Zealand Shows It’s a “Kiwi Thing to Do”

August 28th, 2018

Chief Craig Cottrill: Wellington/Chatham Islands Fire and Emergency

 

At the height of the wildfire siege across California, when 15 major fires burned, there were more than 13,000 firefighters from 18 states and two other countries battling the blazes. Those countries included Australia and New Zealand. 41 of those firefighters were deployed to the Mendocino Complex in Lake County, and 12 were assigned to the Carr Fire in Shasta County. Their roles varied and their value to the effort could not be understated. They brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and energy and will eventually return having gained a new understanding of firefighting environment, strategy and technology.

In this episode of All Hazards, we sit down with Chief Craig Cottrill, of the Wellington/Chatham Islands Fire and Emergency, New Zealand.  Hear about the challenges of being part of an international mutual aid team, the differences in how wildfires are tackled here versus New Zealand, from the technologies to the assets and strategies, as well as how Chief Cottrill manages his team and explains how Californians are similar to New Zealanders in adopting the “Kiwi thing to do.”

New Zealand's Camp at ICP in Modoc County

 

Links

OESNews.com

All Hazards Podcast

Mutual Aid Comes In From All Over State, Country & World For Largest Fire In California History

 

Thursday, August 9, 2018 Press Release

Governor Brown Issues Executive Order to Streamline Cleanup and Recovery in Communities Impacted by Wildfires

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to cut red tape and help streamline recovery efforts in communities impacted by the devastating wildfires that continue to burn in Lake, Siskiyou, Shasta, Mendocino and Napa counties.

There are 15 major fires currently burning in California that have destroyed homes and infrastructure and continue to threaten communities. More than 13,000 firefighters from California, 17 other states, Australia and New Zealand are working the front lines of wildfires statewide.

The executive order includes provisions that:

  • Expedite debris removal and cleanup of homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed by the fires;
  • Extend the state’s prohibition on price gouging during emergencies; 
  • Suspend planning and zoning requirements and state fees for manufactured homes and mobile home parks to help displaced residents with housing needs; 
  • Allow for the accelerated hiring of additional personnel for emergency and recovery operations; 
  • Provide waivers on temporary school facilities and outdoor physical education requirements to allow schools to open as quickly as possible; 
  • Extend the filing deadline for certain taxes for businesses in the impacted counties; 
  • Streamline contracting and purchasing rules; and 
  • Strengthen coordination between state agencies on environmental restoration in fire-impacted areas. 

Last weekend, Governor Brown announced the federal government’s approval of a presidential major disaster declaration for Shasta County and met with local leaders and fire and emergency management officials at the Carr Fire Incident Command Post in Anderson. The federal government is reviewing the presidential major disaster declaration request for Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties on an expedited basis as preliminary damage assessments continue. The Mendocino Complex fire is now the largest fire in state history and remains a dynamic challenge for firefighters.

Previously, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Shasta, Lake, Mendocino, NapaRiverside and Mariposa counties due to multiple fires and secured federal aid to further support communities impacted by the Carr Fire.

Last week, Governor Brown joined the state’s top emergency management officials at the State Operations Center in Mather to provide an update on the ongoing fire fight. The State Operations Center is activated to its highest level to help local, state and federal emergency response officials address emergency management needs.

Information on additional resources for residents impacted by the fires is available at: http://wildfirerecovery.org/

The full text of today’s executive order can be found here.

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Heat Wave is Coming to California - How Bad is It? Where at the Hottest Spots? What Can You Do?

July 24th, 2018

 

CAL_OES_INTERVIEWS_NWS.jpg

EPISIDE 49 of Cal OES All Hazards Podcast

July 24, 2018

California will be blasted with heat advisories and excessive heat warnings as temperatures will be between 10 to 15 degrees above normal Tuesday through Thursday. Why is that so dangerous, and what do you need to know to stay cool and safe? In this Cal OES news update, we get answers from the National Weather Service.

Public information officer Bryan May interviews National Weather Service science and operations officer and meteorologist Kris Mattarochia. They discuss the incredibly hot weather rolling into California. How this weather can put a stress on the energy grid and what you can do to releave the stress on the energy grid with some simple steps.

 

 

 

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The Thomas Fire: Critical Public Information During California’s Historic Wildfire

April 24th, 2018

Kelly Flanders

From December 4th to December 22nd, 2017, the Thomas Fire cost more than 177 million dollars to fight, and forced the evacuation of more than 104 thousand people and had 8,500 firefighters from 22 states simultaneously working to contain it. But let’s not forget about the public information efforts. Imagine what any large disaster would be like if you kept the affected communities in the dark, giving them zero information. No doubt you’d now have to deal with confusion, panic, anger and so much more. So, we’re going to talk with the person who managed public information for the City of Ventura, Kelly Flanders.

Kelly Flanders is the Communications Manager for the City of Ventura. In addition to the Thomas Fire PIO response, Kelly worked with partner agencies during the Grove Incident oil spill. She is a Ventura native and holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University.

 

LINKS

City of Ventura

City of Ventura Thomas Fire Rebuild

Donate to the United Way of Ventura County Thomas Fire and Flood Fund

Ready Ventura County

Ventura County Emergency Information

Ventura County Recovers

Cal OES Wildfire Recovery Resources

OESNews.com

CalOES.ca.gov

 

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Pyrocumulus Clouds, The Six P’s and Safety on the Modoc July Complex Fire

August 8th, 2017

Battalion Chief Dave Welch

Dave Welch is a 24 year veteran of the Rohnert Park Police Department (Department of Public Safety) and has been with Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District in Sonoma County where he’s currently a part time battalion chief. He’s serving as a Type I and Type II safety officer on the Modoc July Complex fire in Modoc County, California.

 

Links

Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District

Modoc July Complex on InciWeb

Levels and Types of ICS Management

 

Type 5: (very small wildland fire only)

• Initial attack

• Short duration, seldom lasting into the next burn period

• Few resources assigned (generally less than 6 people)

• Little complexity

Type 4

• Initial attack or first response to an incident

• IC is “hands on” leader and performs all functions of Operations, Logistics, Planning, and Finance

• Few resources are used (several individuals or a single strike team)

• Normally limited to one operational period

• Does not require a written Incident Action Plan (IAP)

• Examples: Search & Rescue (SAR), motor vehicle accidents, small fires

Type 3

• Extended initial attack on wildland fires

• IC walks the line between a manager and a 'doer'

• Resources may vary from several single resources to several task forces or strike teams

• Some Command/General Staff positions (ie, Division Supervisor, Unit Leader), may be filled

• May extend into another operational period (12 hours), and require an IAP

• Examples: Larger SAR’s, law enforcement incidents, special events, technical rescues, fires

Type 2

• IC spends all time being a manager

• Most Command and General staff positions are filled

• Large number of resources utilized

• Incident extends into multiple operational periods

• Base camp(s) established

• Significant logistical support is required

• Examples: Major fires, VIP visits, lengthy search and rescues, law enforcement incidents, multi-day special events

Type 1

• All functions are filled, plus leaders, branches etc.

• Multi-agency and national resources

• Large number of personnel and equipment are assigned to the incident

• It is a large, complex incident

• Examples: A major Incident—hurricanes, very large fires, natural disasters

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Lake Tahoe’s Angora Fire Commemorated with 10 Year Anniversary

June 27th, 2017

In this episode we travel to South Lake Tahoe to talk with Chief Tim Alameda of the Lake Valley Fire District. We caught up with him days before they commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Angora Fire.

According to an article in the Lake Tahoe News published September 13, 2016, "Alameda was a division chief and the fire marshal for North Tahoe Fire Protection District prior to joining the LVFD in 2016.

Alameda got his start as a firefighter reserve in Meyers in the 1980s. At that time is was a joint program between Lake Valley and South Lake Tahoe fire departments.

Starting in 1984 he spent 27 years with Reno Fire Department. He went from a rank and file firefighter to the chief.

In 2011, Alameda retired from Reno. North Tahoe recruited him to be a fire marshal. He took this job seriously – spending many a day walking around his jurisdiction, into businesses and talking to people. He was seeing where the hazards were, listened to concerns and helped educate people.

He rose to division chief and then took over Meeks Bay.

Those in the fire community call Alameda a true professional, forward thinker and good with personnel. Until the ink is dry, people were hesitant to go on the record about Alameda. The same goes for his current boss, Mike Schwartz.

Wildland fires are something Alameda is well aware of. He was president in 2015 of the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Chief’s Association. The wildland urban interface is a constant issue for fire agencies when it comes to protecting the community from a blaze that starts in the forest.

While he didn’t lose a structure during the Angora Fire, a house he and his dad built on Boulder Mountain was destroyed.

Those 254 houses that burned in 2007 were part of that wildland urban interface.

As a kid, he spent many summer days fishing at Angora Lakes or hunting grouse in the area."

To read the entire article click here.

Links

Angora Fire Data

The Angora Fire 10 Years Later: What have we learned? Field Trip & Symposium

Angora Fire Lessons Learned

Angora Fire Restoration Project

 

 

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