How Cal OES Was Prepared for Carr Fire

MATHER -- Resources are being filtered to the Carr fire to help those having to evacuate, and for the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, that means kicking into emergency mode.

Since yesterday, the command center has been dedicated around the clock to providing aid across the state, with the Carr fire being the main focus at this point, and though they say it is somewhat deja vu to what happened last year, they say reacting to any disaster brings unique circumstances.

As the flames continue to grow at the Carr Fire, the resources flowing from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) is going nonstop to ensure aid is getting where it needs to go.

“The way in which we preposition resources, send things ahead, really pull out the crystal ball here and try to anticipate before a fire starts is different. It’s not the way things were done 10, 20, 30 years ago,” said Kelly Huston, Deputy Director of Cal OES.

OES says dealing with catastrophic disasters like the Carr fire has become a new norm in California, and after spending nearly a third of 2017 on 24/7 high-alert because of the Oroville dam and Sonoma County fires, they have continued to adjust to unprecedented dangers.

“Every disaster is a challenge, so the idea that, 'hey, you’ve gone through this for four or five years now, shouldn’t you be experts at it?' A disaster is a disaster and it’s catastrophic and it throws a lot of curveballs at you,” Huston said.

Bill Bondshu, who just made it back to OES after working on the Ferguson fire in Mariposa County for two weeks, says it is frightening that these fires are popping up so early in what was once considered fire season.

“It’s not going to end until it rains, so pace yourself, one step at a time and the rains will eventually come. That’s all we can look forward to,” said Bondshu, Assistant Chief at Cal OES.

As for fighting fires that continue to explode past lines that firefighters establish to slow it down, Bondshu says it brings fatigue but is accepted as part of the job.

"They’re used to it. I know it seems catastrophic to the public for that to happen but firefighters are used to losing that line and picking up and moving to the next place where you think you can catch it. Sometimes we call it 'shampoo.' It’s rinse, lather, repeat,” expressed Bondshu.