Valley ambulance strike teams head to Bay Area to assist in wildfire response

Local News

A fire truck drives through flames as the Hennessey fire continues to rage out of control near Lake Berryessa in Napa, California on August 18, 2020. – As of the late hours of August 18, the Hennessey fire has merged with at least 7 fires and is now called the LNU Lightning Complex fires. Dozens of fires are burning out of control throughout Northern California as fire resources are spread thin. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Two ambulance strike teams from Fresno and Tulare counties are heading up to Napa County on Wednesday to assist emergency crews in response to the wildfires burning near the Bay Area.

The call to assemble the teams came at 8:45 a.m. at the request of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to respond as soon as possible, said Edgar Escobedo, spokesman for American Ambulance.

One strike team was assembled in Fresno County consisting of crews from American Ambulance and Kingsburg Fire, Escobedo said. The second team was assembled in Tulare County by American Ambulance crews.

The strike teams, totaling 10 ambulances consisting of 10 paramedics, 10 EMTs with two paramedic supervisors, will be heading to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vacaville.

Escobedo said the mission of the strike teams will be to respond and stand-by in the event of large-scale evacuations of medical facilities and to support emergency medical services and alternate care sites.

The LNU Lightning Complex fire is made up of several fires burning in five counties, including in Vacaville.

Police and firefighters went door-to-door before dawn Wednesday in a frantic scramble to warn residents to evacuate as fire encroached on Vacaville, a city of about 100,000 between San Francisco and Sacramento. At least 50 structures were destroyed and 50 damaged and four people suffered burn injuries.

Cal Fire said the blazes were exhibiting “extreme fire behavior” and challenging firefighters. There is rugged terrain in several of the areas and unexpectedly strong winds overnight fanned the flames.

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a statewide state of emergency Tuesday, saying the blazes were “exacerbated by the effects of the historic West Coast heat wave and sustained high winds.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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