Thursday, November 9, 2017
LAFD Spokesperson: Erik Scott
The core mission of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is to preserve life and property. Our mission extends to wherever we are needed and have the capability to assist. In the last two months there have been many significant incidents across the United States that have required our assistance.
On August 26, we sent LAFD California Task Force 1 (CA-TF1) to Texas to assist with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. This 70-member team assisted with search and rescue, evacuations, and rescue operations. After being demobilized on September 5, the team was re-routed to the Florida Keys to respond to Hurricane Irma as they started to make their way home. In Florida, CA-TF1 conducted recon, search and rescue, search data collection and provided medical services to the residents. Soon after CA-TF1 returned home, four LAFD members from the Federal Incident Management Team 1 (FIMT-1) deployed to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria. These members spent 19 days assisting teams in getting shipments of food, water, and other critical supplies throughout the Island of Puerto Rico.
On September 1, with red flag weather conditions, LAFD resources were dispatched to the La Tuna Canyon Brush Fire. At its height, we had over 1,000 Firefighters and 209 Engines from all over the state attached. Despite the fire burning over 7,100 acres and losing three structures, we protected over 3,000 homes and fully contained the fire in seven days. This was the largest wildfire within Los Angeles City since the Bel Air Fire in 1961.
On October 1, a senseless tragedy occurred at a concert in Las Vegas. Many off duty members were in attendance, where a lone gunman opened fire on the crowd. Many LAFD members along with members from other agencies reacted and responded to assist without consideration for their own well-being.
On October 9, a quick-moving brush fire fueled by Santa Ana winds broke out in the Anaheim Hills and grew to over 9,200 acres over the course of five days. The LAFD sent one Strike Team (S/T 1001A) to assist Orange County with their operations. At its peak, there were 1,100 Firefighters working to combat the fire. While there were approximately 3,000 homes threatened, a total of 24 structures were destroyed.
Also on October 9, deadly fires were burning around Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Napa. The Mendocino Lake Complex Fire and Central LNU Complex Fire were experiencing fire like they have never seen. Strike Team 1001A was demobilized from the Canyon Fire 2 and immediately sent to Napa.
Shortly thereafter, we sent our Type III Strike Team up north (S/T 1880C) to the Southern Complex Fire. There are 42 confirmed deaths, over 200,000 acres burned, and over 5,700 structures destroyed. We received a request to send a 3rd strike team to assist. After careful consideration we sent Strike Team 1002A to support the efforts up north. In total, there were three strike teams and 15 overhead personnel out on brush fire deployments. These strike teams have been working on the line, part of structure defense group, and assessing the impacted areas.
LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas stated, "There is no other Fire Department that can have a 70 member FEMA USAR team across the country assisting with hurricane recovery efforts, multiple strike teams out on brush fires throughout California, support our off duty members who assisted in the Las Vegas tragedy all while handling our daily average of 1,315 emergency calls from the people of Los Angeles."
"This capability and effort is what separates the LAFD from every other Fire Department in the nation… and why I am so proud of our LAFD and believe now more than ever that we are the greatest Fire department in the world!" - Chief Terrazas.
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