Mini city supports fight against Bully Fire

Jul 16, 2014 7:55 PM by Charlene Cheng

While hundreds of firefighters are out battling the Bully Fire, a team is assembled at the command post at the Shasta District Fairgrounds, monitoring the scene in real-time.

"This map here is displaying the current fire perimeter, where the dozer lines are, as well as where the aircraft are, and just gives an overall picture to the planners so they can see what's going on," said Greg Alex, a fire captain with CAL FIRE.

He's just one part of a tightly run fire bureaucracy that has sprung up, managing everything from laundry services, to a finance team, and even a general store.

"We have about 30,000 feed of hose in stock, probably have another 20,000 feet of inch hose that we use, tools, we probably have about 200 tools in stock for the firefighters," said supply unit leader Ryan Cash.

It's all part of a time-tested, cooperative effort.

Every morning, crews meet up at base camp for a debriefing before heading out.

"They have what are called planning meetings, all the upper management of the fire is stationed here, and this is where all the decisions are made," said Robert Foxworthy, a CAL FIRE public information officer.

Every city needs a center and the one here is a state-of-the-art mobile communications truck.

There's just two like it in the entire state of California.

"Communications is one of the most important things we do. There is no cell service out there, it's strictly by radio on this. There's a lot of supplies that are needed that they don't realize until they get in the middle of it," said Randy Wyckoff, who serves as a technician.

And when it's all over, the camp will wind down, and these firefighters will return to their home bases.

"They've gotten very good at this process, whether it be setting up or taking it down. It'll slowly ramp down and get smaller and smaller and smaller until it's small enough that it can be turned back to the local unit," Foxworthy said.


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