SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The California Office of Emergency Services announced the creation of Team Blaze, the first-ever wildfire strike team operated by state military.
Cal OES is deploying the strike team and its Type VI wildland fire engines to the State Military Department to enhance California’s Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid fleet.
Each with a capacity to carry a 4-person crew, these engines complement the military’s existing Task Force Rattlesnake hand crew program consisting of soldiers and airmen.
Since the start of operations in 2019, Task Force Rattlesnake has cut, cleared and treated at-risk wildfire project areas in central and northern California.
“We have always valued the California Military Department’s partnership during times of need, especially during wildfires or other natural disasters. These new engines will not only add to their capabilities, but also help augment our state’s wildfire and rescue resources more broadly,” California OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said Wednesday.
The State’s Military Department maintains a firefighting program at their military bases, with trained personnel providing firefighting prevention, mitigation and protection services to California and military bases and camps.
“We are proud to collaborate with Cal OES to ensure there’s another fleet of fire engines and expert staff at the ready. This Strike Team builds upon the state’s response efforts during times of need,” said California Military Department Major General Matthew Beevers.
Cal OES facilitates the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, which moves local government resources across the state in support of all-risk emergency response on behalf of local, state, and federal government fire organizations.