U.S. Army firefighters assist local departments during 2020 California wildfire season
By Doug MagillAugust 25, 2020
HERLONG, Calif. – Fire and emergency services professionals from the U.S. Army’s end-of-first-life center are currently assisting local civil authorities in responding to wildfires across northern California during the region’s 2020 wildland fire season.Multiple teams of firefighters from Sierra Army Depot have been assisting efforts to combat wildfires in several locations in Lassen County near Susanville, California -- approximately 35 miles northwest of Sierra Army Depot, since mid-August. Those fires are collectively dubbed “North Complex Fire” and includes a series of three fires: “Sheep”, “Bear” and “Claremont”. Sierra Army Depot firefighters are also helping respond to the “Red Salmon” fires – approximately 166 miles northwest of the depot. Combined, the fires have burned approximately 30,000 acres of land. An earlier wildland fire – named “Hog Fire” – burned another 10,000 acres outside of Susanville in mid-July."I greatly appreciate the eagerness of our Firefighters and Police Officers from Sierra Army Depot in their support and continued service to our community," said Lt. Col. Russell Henry, Sierra Army Depot commander. "Sierra Army Depot is the largest employer in Lassen County, and it is the home for a large portion of our workforce. We appreciate the relationship we have with Lassen County and want to help in all the ways that we can."The firefighters have been performing a gamut of tasks including medical support, logistics or fighting the fires directly.“For the 2020 wildland fire season, Sierra Army Depot’s Fire & Emergency Services Division is keeping busy,” said Eric Pietrylo, the depot’s fire chief. “Whether we’re providing line Emergency Medical Technician duties for other wildland firefighters, triaging residential structures to prevent fire spread or direct firefighting efforts, we stand ready to do our best for the community.”The Sierra Army Depot Fire & Emergency Services Division has a standing mutual aid agreement with fire departments from five localities that enables the department to assist civil authorities when the need arises.“Although Sierra Army Depot is our highest priority, our responders are empathetic to a number of families displaced and evacuated by the recent emergencies in the surrounding area,” Pietrylo said. “We are fortunate to have top leadership support and I could not be more proud of the members of our department who are enthusiastic and selflessly serve others every day.”According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, more than 14,000 firefighters continue to battle more than 24 wildland fires statewide.A Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service is still effect for the threat of lightning with little precipitation and gusty, erratic winds. Dry weather is expected this week for northern California, with extreme fire danger expected this weekend.Sierra Army Depot is located approximately 30 miles south of Susanville, in Herlong, Calif. The depot provides a variety of long-term life cycle sustainment solutions for U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and for U.S. Army Materiel Command and ultimately for the U.S. Army.