CAL FIRE prepares for wildfire season in Butte County

Fire season is just getting started and firefighters are on the alert to keep people in the North State safe.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 5:51 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Fire season is just getting started and firefighters are on the alert to keep people in the North State safe.

Fire crews are currently at the Chico Airport preparing for the season. 

Shem Hawkins, battalion chief at the air attack base in Chico, emphasized the importance of being prepared for the wildfires.

"The Camp Fire was an anomaly," Hawkins said. "It was one of those fires that you don't see very often and unfortunately had a destructive impact on the community."

Hawkins said they are getting a new helicopter to help protect the people of the North State. He said their helicopters now carry about 324 gallons of water, but the newest helicopter, the Black Hawk, will be able to carry 1,000 gallons of water. 

"We are going to be able to quadruple the amount of water that we're carrying over the top of the fire," Hawkins said. 

The new Black Hawk will be able to go out at night as well, something firefighters were not able to do before. 

"At night what we see in the past is an increase in humidity [and] decrease in temperatures," Hawkins said. "A lot of the benefits we're able to provide during the daytime for those ground troops are realized at night just from the natural occurrence of the sun going down but now we're going to be able to compound that."

In a few years, Hawkins said the firefighters are getting seven brand new C-130 aircraft. 

"That'll be a huge impact for the citizens of California because currently, our air tankers carry about 1,000 gallons of retardant to 1,200 gallons of retardant, but those planes will be able to carry up to 4,000 gallons of retardant," he said. 

Hawkins said the damage done by the Camp Fire is burned in his memory. 

"I dont think that there's anything we could have done to have averted that catastrophe but certainly it weighs heavy on my mind because I grew up in Paradise," he said. "I knew that community." 

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 284012

Reported Deaths: 6573
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1207643582
Riverside21101506
Orange18892369
San Diego17578399
San Bernardino15932272
Imperial7343121
Alameda6925140
Fresno692481
San Joaquin560058
Kern554384
Santa Clara5478165
Tulare5175139
Sacramento456676
Contra Costa409286
San Francisco402050
Ventura385850
Santa Barbara374230
San Mateo3692111
Marin298926
Stanislaus288945
Kings275537
Monterey223917
Solano182627
Merced162311
Sonoma146612
Placer93811
San Luis Obispo8082
Yolo72326
Madera7137
Santa Cruz5013
Napa4484
San Benito2922
Butte2753
Sutter2753
Lassen2670
El Dorado2640
Shasta1635
Humboldt1544
Nevada1511
Glenn1460
Yuba1392
Lake981
Tehama941
Mendocino920
Colusa860
Calaveras610
Del Norte581
Tuolumne570
Mono481
Amador340
Inyo341
Siskiyou320
Mariposa311
Plumas130
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
Oroville
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 91°
Paradise
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 90°
Chester
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Red Bluff
Clear
95° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 95°
Willows
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 90°
Sunny skies and hotter temperatures are ahead for today. We'll be very dry and winds will be a little stronger out of the Northwest this afternoon. Fire danger will be elevated for some areas later today.
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