California National Guard joins fire fight in Trinity County

Aug 19, 2015 9:46 PM by Charlene Cheng

166 California National Guard soldiers arrived on the fire lines in Trinity County, after almost two weeks on the Humboldt Lightning Complex near Garberville.

They're categorized as a Type 2 hand crew, supporting firefighters by mopping up and improving hand lines once flames die down.

"We help with the hot spots and a lot of the ground work. We cover a lot of terrain so they have a chance to sit back and relax and take a breather that they need," said Tamara Graham, a member of the California National Guard.

As the massive wildfires continue blazing throughout the state, officials are making the best of scant resources.

"If it wasn't for having the joint operations with multiple agencies, none of us are large enough or have the equipment to do it alone. If we couldn't work together, these fires would be out of control," said Michael Steineke, a military liaison for CAL FIRE.

General Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, traveled from D.C. to see his troops firsthand.

"At the federal leve,l we don't need to do anything like this. We just need to make sure we get the resources they need to do the federal mission, and a lot of that same training and command and control and leadership right here on the ground fighting fires," he said.

Military help is always available for firefighting efforts, thanks to a 1975 agreement.

"We have about six states today supporting fires out west. That's the mission we do in the National Guard. And we're ready to do it, anytime they call," General Grass said.


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