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City Fire Departments Balance Wildfire Efforts, City Safety

Chico's Fire Chief says they'll answer the call for help, but the city comes first and he won't leave residents unprotected.

Posted: Jun. 28, 2018 3:50 AM
Updated: Jun. 28, 2018 8:00 AM

Chico, Calif.-- Firefighters from many city departments are deployed right now to help battle the Lake and Tehama County Fires.

Because we're so prone to wildfires in California, the state has a very strategic plan of Mutual Aid.

Departments share resources first at the county level, and each city department can decide how many people and how much equipment they can share for up to two weeks when there's a need for help elsewhere in the state.

They get reimbursed by the state, and it's a learning experience.

"What we really get out of it is the expertise that they bring back that then manifests into being able to manage our own incidents - not just wildland fires but any incidents to help you understand fire behavior, how to manage resources, prioritize, there are a lot of ancillary benefits," said Chico's Fire Chief Steve Standridge.

The City of Chico sent 6 firefighters and 2 engines and a dozer to the Stoll and Lane Fires.

Standridge says the city comes first - they'll send no more than 9 people out to a fire outside of Butte County.

One of the engines that Chico Fire uses is actually provided by the state Office of Emergency Services, so that's the first one to go out when a call comes in.

"When we move beyond the county into the state mutual aid system, that's when it becomes a bit more complicated and we need to look at what's happening in our own area and we balance the potential of what's going on in our own area and never compromise our ability to get ahead of that incident," said Standridge.

Redding Fire Department sent 5 people to the Stoll Fire, 4 to the Lane Fire and their entire on-duty crew to the Creek Fire.

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