A message from the owner of SoCalFire:
I figured that it would be time for me to update the site a little, so I came in to change a few things around, and began to look around. I was surprised to find that what I had wrote 5 years ago isn't too far off from what we're already experienced here, just 5 years later.
In 2002, I was on the McNalley fire on the Sequoia NF, and when our strike team was demobed, they wanted to send us to San Diego for the fires down there. I was ready to go, but our strike team leader decided that we should go home instead.
In 2004 I joined the ACS program with OES, and I've been to a SAR mission, and 3 major fires since then. I've had to turn down assignments because of working a full-time job with the County of Fresno.
Here it is 2007, and we've had a 800 ac fire in Griffith Park, a 2500 ac fire in Gorman, 150 and 300 ac fires here in Madera County, and there's a fire currently burning in the Shasta-Trinity NF at 800 ac this early in the season. After plenty of early-season rain last year, and not enough rain this year, it's going to be rough. We're seeing fire conditions now that we shouldn't be seeing until the end of June into July, which worries me as to what we're going to have in September when the fire danger is at its worst.
I'll leave the old message below, since it has a lot of good information, especially about the mailing list and other things. I probably won't be working at Staging this year unless it's on the weekends or night shift.
Stay safe, and keep your dime,
John "Smokey Behr" Gleichweit
Fire Season 2002 looks to be a real ripper with the lack of rain in both the Southland, and across the West. Already this year there have been dozens of small brush fires in SoCal, and as I write this, there is a ~100 acre fire being mopped up in BDU.
Rainfall totals and snowpack totals this year are in the area of 33-66% of normal across the state, and roughly 50% across the West. New Mexico experienced its first major fire in March, and currently another major fire has burned almost 10,000 acres, with only 5% containment. Arizona is mopping up a 38,000 acre blaze, Colorado is mopping up a ~400 acre incident, and "very high to extreme fire indices" are indicated across the southwest.
As many of you know, I'm currently a paid-call firefighter with Madera County Fire. One of our duties in the summer is to open the Madera Mobilization Center (Madera Staging) for resources traveling from one end of the state to the other. I'll be working that center this summer, so if any of you reading this page, or the list come through, look or ask for me, and we'll have a face-to-face and a few laughs.
If you haven't joined the mailing list, please do so. There's a lot of info that you're missing.
If you have an alphanumeric pager, and you want to get updates on incidents, join the Incident Paging Network. If you have a scanner and can spend 20 hours a month listening, you can be a dispatcher for IPN, sending out pages. Central California is especially deficient in dispatchers, so we're missing hundreds of incidents per month.
Thanks to everyone that has contributed to the list, especially Harry Marnells, and my NorCalFire counterpart, Jake Hickok.
If you have any pictures that you'd like to see featured, e-mail me, and I'll put it up. I'm going to try and get pictures of various fire stations and apparatus around Central California, as well as pictures inside the various dispatch centers, so you can see the faces behind the voices.