300 National Guard members arrive in North Bay to assist Cal Fire


SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) – Nearly three hundred members of the California Army National Guard arrived in the North Bay today to help fight the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.

Firefighters battling the Western portion of the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, known as the Walbridge Fire near Guerneville  and Healdsburg are getting some extra hands to help battle this stubborn blaze.

“Many of my soldiers, this impacts their home. So this is personal to them not only to support their state and local communities but also their families,” said Lt. Col. David Chang.

The soldiers arrived at the Cal Fire base camp at the Sonoma County Fairground in Santa Rosa wednesday afternoon in white pickups and military vehicles.

sot paul lowenthal/cal fire spokesman :28

“Given the number of fires burning across California and the way resources are stretched across the state but coming in from out of state. The use of the California National Guard is not only needed but appreciated,” said Paul Lowenthal Cal Fire spokesman.

Many of these soldiers have fought fire before, but all have spent the last few days training with Cal Fire. Officials say with they’ll be working as hand crews, cutting containment line.

“They are being put right into the fires line to help us create those containment lines to get those percentages up here on the Walbridge Fire which will ultimately lead to allowing people to return home,” according to Lowenthal.

The firefighters they’ll replace will focus on protecting homes and mopping up.  Firefighters say making progress in the next few days is critical.

“We’re on day 3 of what we refer to as a 5-day window of opportunity, where the humidities came up which improved our weather conditions. That’s the time that we need to take advantage of resources like the National Guard,” Lowenthal added.

Cal Fire will be with these soldiers every step of the way.  They are due to hit the fire lines Thursday morning.

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