Wildfires in California are burning at a pace that could well make this fire year the worst in the state’s history. Fast-growing, expansive fires are igniting earlier, already scorching nearly three times the number of acres over the same period last year and taxing firefighting resources.
“The effect of this year’s fires on our members has been far too great,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “We have lost three of our members and at least eight others have lost their homes.”
The largest — the Carr fire — ignited July 23 when a vehicle’s wheel rim scraped the asphalt, creating sparks near Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Three days later, the fire jumped the Sacramento River and was rapidly making its way toward Redding, threatening thousands of homes, including those belonging to IAFF members.
“Unlike the typical wind-driven fire that moves in one direction, this fire went in different directions as it grew,” says Redding Local 1934 President Matthew Oliphant, who was deployed to area neighborhoods along with other members.