Tahoe-Truckee firefighters head south just in case
Local fire districts are preparing to send fire engines and personnel to Southern California to stand by in case of a late-season wildfire.
With northeasterly Santa Ana winds off the high desert forecast to pick up Friday and Saturday, officials at the North Tahoe Fire Protection District and four other local agencies have agreed to offer standby aid to their Southern California counterparts.
According to a press release issued Monday by the North Tahoe district, the Tahoe Basin Operational Area, from Donner Lake to Nevada’s Storey and Lyon counties, will assist the statewide “November Move Up and Cover” plan to pre-position firefighters and equipment in the south.
Twenty-two firefighters along with five engines will be deployed from the fire protection districts of Truckee, North Tahoe, Lake Valley, Incline Village and Tahoe Douglas, according to Operational Area Chief Duane Whitelaw. He said the North Tahoe district will dispatch one engine and four personnel.
He said the strike team costs about $40,000 per 24-hour period.
The staff and equipment will be mobilized in accordance with California’s Fire and Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid System, a system in place since the 1970s, Whitelaw said.
The mobilization is part of a massive effort coordinated by the California Office of Emergency Services that started Tuesday morning and involves resources from Calfire, the U.S. Forest Service and local government agencies including Tahoe and Truckee’s fire departments.
“We have pre-positioned 100 fire engines and over 1,000 personnel since yesterday,” said Calfire spokesman Daniel Berlant.
Forecasters expect winds to reach a sustained 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Thompson.
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