Detwiler Fire showcases CA mutual aid program's effectiveness

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Thanks to California's world-renowned mutual aid and incident command systems, more than 5,000 fire personnel continue to battle the flames ravaging Mariposa County. (KFSN)

A caravan of fire engines may be moving as one, but take a closer look at the names decaled on the side doors. Each boasts a different city or county.

Thanks to California's world-renowned mutual aid and incident command systems, more than 5,000 fire personnel continue to battle the flames ravaging Mariposa County.

Many are familiar with the operational side of incidents - firefighters, hand crews, dozers and aerial support - all used to put the fire out.

It's planning and logistics that not only help keep them safe, it helps them get a better handle on the fire.

"They come up with the plan," Capt. John Bruno with Cal Fire said. "They make the maps for us. They take care of the weather reports and the fire behavior analysis."

Not to mention operational and personal needs like equipment, food and sleep. Daily briefings with fire personnel include topography and reports from fuel experts as well as meteorologists so firefighters can anticipate how to tackle the flames in the safest way possible.

"In wildland firefighting, there are three factors that determine how a fire will behave," Bruno said. "There's topography, the fuel - how dry and what kind it is, but the third is the weather. We need to know what the weather is going to do, and where it's going to go."

With a fire spanning roughly 118 square miles, humidity and the wind can differ on either end. As for mutual aid, resources are deployed through the governor's office.

Well before Gov. Brown issued a state of emergency for the incident, the office of emergency services was already involved.

"We're trying to get ahead of what can possibly occur," Bruno said.

That mutual aid extends to law enforcement as well. More than 100 officers and deputies continue to patrol evacuated areas.

"Their house is going to be protected, not only from the fire but from criminal activity," CAL OES chief Mark Pazin said.

Recovery efforts complete the CAL OES trifecta, making sure the community can bounce back.

Related Topics:
wildfirefirefighterscaliforniaMariposa County
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