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Fighting the fire

Thanks to Chief Stornetta for sharing this image.

The largest fire in Calif. history gathers firefighters from all over the state and surrounding states

The record breaking Thomas Fire in Calif., that burned for 40 days, concluded on Jan. 12, 2017, relieving the residents of Ventura and Santa Barbara County. The smoke did not reach Paso, but with the fire’s perimeter being just over 115 miles from PRHS our firefighters did join in fighting the fire alongside 8,500 others.

Paso Robles Fire Department is part of the Master Mutual Aid System which provides assistance to emergency situations that are unable to mitigate the emergency with local resources.

“Paso Robles sent four firefighters on one fire engine and one Battalion Chief who was responsible for a strike team of fire engines (a strike team consist of five fire engines)” said Jonathan Stornetta, the Interim Fire Chief for Paso Robles Fire Department.

With the air quality being unbearable, dry winds to fight, and a dry vegetation, the fire was hard to control.

“A fire like the Thomas Fire is not a common fire. The Thomas Fire set a record for the largest fire in California history. There are many large fires throughout California every year.  This year alone there were 9,054 vegetation fires in California that burned over 1,381,405 acres. In October alone, these fires caused over $9.4 billion dollars in damage,” Stornetta said.

The Thomas Fire alone burned 281, 893 acres, 2,362 being local property. Residents losing homes and being evacuated dispersed throughout the state trying to find refuge. Some surrounding public schools were closed for five weeks or longer including Santa Barbara Unified School District, Ventura Unified School District, Santa Paula Unified School District, Ojai Unified School District, and Mupu Elementary School District.

Paso Robles firefighters were on the fire for 18 out the 40 days total the fire was burning. Calif. received help from all over the state to mitigate the emergency. It was a devastating fire for those in and around it and will cost the state over $287 million to recover.

The state has begun to recover, but was struck with another disaster: a mudslide.



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