Updated November 13 – As the California wildfires continue to rage across the state, already more than 60 IAFF members’ homes have been destroyed, while hundreds more who have been evacuated — many who continue to work on the fire lines — don’t yet know the status of their homes. To date, more than $163,000 in direct financial assistance has been distributed to members and their families, with more requests for disaster relief anticipated as we work to determine the status of members’ homes currently listed as unknown. Updated November 12 – More than 8,000 fire fighters from throughout the state are battling the three large wildfires, with out-of-state resources assisting. The wind-driven fires have burned more than 209,000 acres and destroyed thousands of structures.
IAFF disaster relief operations continue as members and their families are taking full advantage of the services available, including direct financial assistance, behavioral health support, insurance and housing placement.
Disaster relief operations staff are working to determine the status of members’ homes currently listed as unknown and to contact members in the impacted areas. The team was on the fire line over the weekend, meeting with many crews. Members are grateful for the union’s efforts on the ground and for the support.
As the weather becomes more favorable, fire fighters are hopeful that containment will increase and the fires can be controlled.
Updated November 10 – As the Camp, Rincon and Woolsey wildfires are devouring homes and threatening lives across Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties in California, President Donald Trump has chosen to respond with an irresponsible, reckless and insulting tweet criticizing the work being done on the frontline to contain these disasters. While fire fighters and civilians are still in harm’s way, the president even suggested cutting off necessary funding to keep Americans safe. Read more …
Updated November 9 – IAFF disaster relief operations are fully functional and assisting members in need, including financial assistance and behavioral health resources counseling.
California Professional Firefighters (CPF) President Brian Rice, CPF Secretary-Treasurer Mike Lopez and other state and local affiliate leaders visited the operations center and extensively toured the fire areas, meeting with crews on the line and with displaced members, assuring them that the IAFF is working hard for our members and their families.
“I can’t express enough our gratitude of the IAFF leadership and staff, CPF leadership and staff and the CAL FIRE Local 2881 leadership and staff for all their assistance,” says Santa Rosa, CA Local 1401 President Tim Aboudara. “We wouldn’t be able to help our members as well as we have without all of the support.”
Milder weather has helped crews make headway on suppression and containment, but more Red Flag weather is predicted through the holiday weekend.
November 8 – A series of fast-moving wildfires – the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire – are racing up and down California, destroying thousands of structures in their paths and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate through flame-lined streets. Fanned by high winds and low humidity, the fires have spread rapidly, threatening more than 20 million people under red flag warnings.
The IAFF is working with 10th District Vice President Frank Lima and Santa Rosa, CA Local 1401 President Tim Aboudara to reach out to the impacted locals and provide disaster relief assistance to members in the wildfires’ path, with command operations centers at the Sierra North Valley Realtors Association in downtown Chico and Ventura County Local 1364 union hall. The Sierra North Valley Realtors Association is also assembling an inventory of available rental properties for any members who have lost homes.
Reports estimate the number of homes lost between 1,000 and 2,000.
The Hill Fire – just down the road from the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks where 12 people were killed in a mass shooting November 8, has quickly spread to cover 10,000 acres.
In Butte County, the Camp Fire is reported to be growing uncontrollably at a rate of about 80 football fields per minute, burning through 20,000 acres, injuring fire fighters and residents and prompting hospitals and schools to quickly evacuate.
In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties grew from 2,000 acres to 7,500 in a matter of hours, with 30,000 homes under threat from the blaze. Some structures have already been destroyed.
Above average winds and below average humidity are expected and these fires are predicted to be quite active for the foreseeable future.