Boulder County Firefighters Head to Raging Carr Fire in Northern California
Two fire districts in Boulder County have sent resources to a rapidly expanding fire burning in northern California that has killed at least two people, burned dozens of buildings and scorched more than 40,000 acres.
“We are sending eight engines to California,” said Larry Helmerick, public information officer for Rocky Mountain Coordination Center, which oversees fire resources in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska.
Helmerick said that Rocky Mountain Fire and Four Mile Fire, both Boulder County fire protection districts, have one engine apiece headed to the Carr Fire, which is burning near Redding, Calif.
He said that Berthoud Fire also has an engine inbound to the fire as do five other fire departments based elsewhere in Colorado and Wyoming.
As of Friday afternoon the Carr Fire has burned more than 44,000 acres and is three percent contained. The fire has destroyed 65 buildings, damaged 55 others and is threatening nearly 5,000. More than 1,700 firefighters in 51 fire crews are on scene along with 110 fire engines, 10 helicopters, 22 bulldozers and 34 water tenders, according to the California Department of Fire Protection.
A firefighter with the Redding Fire Department and a privately hired bulldozer operator were killed and several firefighters and residents have been injured. The fire was started Monday by “mechanical failure of a vehicle” in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
Helmerick added that the United States has moved to fire preparedness level five, the highest such preparedness level that exists. Significant wildland fire potential is above normal in all or large portions of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana. There is always the possibility, he said, that firefighters will be diverted to other areas as needed.
Four Mile firefighter Paul Dennison said that two people from his district and a third firefighter from Colorado State Forest Service left for California at noon Friday and were expected to make it to California by Saturday. He didn’t have information on what the three firefighters would be doing once on scene.
“Typically, on an engine assignment, you don’t have your specific task until you check into your incident,” Dennison said. “You will be briefed by your supervisor, but that is not information they will know until they check into the incident.”
He added that firefighters from Four Mile have been dispatched to other fires during this year’s fire season, including the Ute Fire that scorched about 36,000 acres in northern New Mexico, but no one has been deployed since June.
Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Aulabaugh said Boulder Fire Rescue has sent firefighters to Oregon, California and Texas, and one person who is the incident commander at the Sugarloaf Fire burning in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland Sulpher Ranger District in Grand County.
“We also had an order for an engine with a crew of three to California this morning, but it was canceled just before they left,” Aulabaugh said. “That engine is still available for a national deployment.”
Berthoud Fire Protection District Spokeswoman May Soricelli said Friday that the Carr fire poses a challenge to firefighters, as some have already been wounded on the front lines.
“This is gonna be a little bit more unique based on the amount on structures involved,” Soricelli said. “The fire picked up quickly and people were not completely evacuated before the spread of the fire.”
The Associated Press and Loveland Reporter Herald Staff Writer Hans Peter contributed to this report.
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