California emergency officials give update on historic fire response

Wildfires

(KTXL) — State and federal emergency management officials said they will continue to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to California’s wildfire situations as the state endures another historic wildfire season.

California’s top firefighting official sounded the alarm, as now two wildfires this year have crossed the Sierra Nevada — which had never happened in the state’s history until this month. First was the Dixie Fire, and now the Caldor Fire threatens South Lake Tahoe.

“There is fire activity happening in California that we have never seen before,” said Cal Fire Director Thom Porter. “It’s been burning in heavy timber — very difficult conditions. We’ve been making headway at times.”

Across the state, more than 15,000 personnel are working to fight 15 major wildfires with out-of-state help coming from Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

The California National Guard is providing support by sending 1,059 members to help with fire response and 150 military police to assist evacuation efforts in El Dorado County.

“It is a broad spectrum of military capability, from space-based platforms down to boots on the ground, where we’re providing fire suppression, incident awareness and support to law enforcement,” said Major General David Baldwin of the California National Guard.

Another 250 active duty members are being prepped to help respond to the fires.

Porter has a stern warning to all Californians.

“For the rest of you in California, you’ve heard me say this before — every acre can and will burn someday in this state,” Porter said. “Be ready now, before there’s a warning. When there’s a warning, you put everything in the car and you go, or you wait for the order and you go. Be ready now.”

President Biden has approved a presidential disaster declaration for the River and Dixie fires. That could extend to more counties once crews have a chance to assess the damage from other fires.

Watch the entire press conference here:

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