California News

Friday, August 16, 2019

Sacramento Firefighters Union Pushes Back as City Moves Toward Reducing Health Care Benefits

The Sacramento city firefighters union has gone public with its frustration over contract talks that are at a near impasse. The contract expired eight months ago and the union says the city wants to eliminate or reduce health care and benefits for current and retired firefighters. “It’s disheartening, that’s really what it is,” said union spokesperson Roberto Padilla. The city’s firefighters say they are being treated unfairly because the city wants retired firefighters to begin paying for health benefits, which include mental health care. They have cited studies showing that health problems crop up often after firefighters retire and before their Medicare benefits kick in. “PTSD, cancer, suicide, mental health, that’s at the front line of fire service right now,” Padilla told FOX40.
KTXL-TV Fox 40 Sacramento

Four San Luis Obispo County firefighters remembered on 40th anniversary of deadly wildfire

Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Department paid tribute Thursday to four firefighters that were killed in the line of duty on Aug. 15, 1979. A special ceremony was held at a memorial site located near the site of the fire along Highway 166, a few miles west of New Cuyama. The men who lost their lives were Captain Ed Marty, and firefighters Ron Lorant, Steve Manley and Scott Cox. Each of them worked out of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) Nipomo Station. "We are here to pay tribute, honor and remember the four courageous firefighters assigned to CDF Engine 5373, who tragically lost their live on the Spanish Ranch Fire on this day 40 years ago," said Cal Fire/SLO County Fire Dept. Chief Scott Jalbert.
KEYT-TV ABC 3 Santa Barbara

Dunsmuir Man Sentenced For Threatening to Shoot Down Firefighting Choppers

A judge on Thursday sentenced a Northern California man to two years of probation for threatening to shoot down helicopters helping fight the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest last year, according to federal prosecutors. Jason A. Tobey, 46, of Dunsmuir, was also ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis M. Cota to pay a $500 fine. According to evidence presented at a one-day bench trial in May, Tobey confronted a U.S. Forest Service employee several times about the helicopters, which were using the Mott Airport in Dunsmuir as a base of operation. Tobey lives next door to the airport. The aircraft were performing tasks such as infrared mapping to assist firefighters on the ground, prosecutors said. Tobey reportedly told the employee he was going to “shoot those (expletive) out of the sky if I have to” and “did I not (expletive) make myself clear yesterday, or am I out of my (expletive) mind?”

Shasta County’s Cottage Fire: Containment at 70%, 156 acres burned

The Cottage Fire is at 156 acres and is now 70 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday morning. The fire started as a cluster of fires between Anderson and Millville Thursday afternoon in the area of Dersch Road and Cottage Hill Drive. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. All evacuations have been lifted and all roads in the area are open. One firefighter suffered a heat-related illness while battling the blaze, Cal Fire said. All told, 84 firefighters at one time were assigned to the fire. The increased humidity helped with containment overnight, Cal Fire said. Residents in the area are asked to drive with caution as fire personnel continue to mop up.
Record Searchlight

Structure Fire Sparks 5-Acre Vegetation Fire Near Colfax

An approximately five-acre fire is burning west of Colfax, according to Cal Fire. The fire started near Dog Bar Road and Venus Court on Thursday afternoon. Firefighters say the incident started as a structure fire that spread to the vegetation. Officials said possibly a motor home and outbuilding is involved. A volunteer watchman spotted the fire and alerted firefighters. Aircraft resources have responded to aid in the firefight. No injuries have been reported. Firefighters said they made good progress on the fire and were canceling extra resources around 4 p.m.
KOVR-TV CBS Sacramento

Brush Fire Scorches Homes, Vehicles in Moreno Valley Following Police Chase

A brush fire broke out near the spot where a police chase came to an end in Moreno Valley on Thursday afternoon, scorching two homes and nine vehicles before firefighters surrounded the flames, authorities said. The fire was first reported about 4 p.m. in the area of Bay and Phillis avenues, according to Calfire. It quickly grew to at least five acres in size. Two single-family homes and an outbuilding caught fire and were severely damaged, fire officials said. Nine vehicles sustained severe damage or were entirely destroyed, and three outbuildings burned down. Firefighters declared the fire contained just after 6:30 p.m. Aerial footage from Sky5 showed two SUVs and a car that had been charred by the flames. The SUVs appeared to be fitted with law enforcement-style light bars.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Ramona-Based Firefighters Train on C-130 Named ’Zeus’

VIDEO: A C-130 nicknamed Zeus will be in San Diego County throughout the month of August, training Ramona-based pilots who normally fly CalFire's workhorse S-2 tankers. The pilots are training to fly the much bigger aircraft that will eventually join Cal Fire's fleet. The first thing you notice about the C-130 is that it's huge. It can carry up to 4,000 gallons of flame retardant. By comparison, the S-2 tanker holds 1,200 gallons. “The crew can dial in coverage levels, gallon levels, however much they want, and then when it comes time to drop, they just hit right here and the computer does everything for us,” said Paul Huebner, Flight Engineer with Coulson Aviation. Depending on the airport's pump system, it can take 8 to 10 minutes to fill that tank. Depending on the weight of the load, the C-130 can stay in the air for 4 to 5 hours. Three crew members fly the C-130 compared to a single pilot for the S-2.

Vacaville council approves contract with firefighters union

The Vacaville City Council has voted to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the city and Vacaville Firefighters Association, but only after scrutiny by the public and some council members. The previous MOU expired June 30, 2018. In January of that year, the city began negotiations with VFA and the two groups met over the course of 18 months to negotiate a successor agreement covering Aug. 1, 2019 to Oct. 31, 2022. Among the terms outlined in the MOU are a vacation accrual increase for shift personnel from 72 to 96 hours for two or fewer years of service, a lump sum vacation of 120 hours granted upon completion of 15 years of service for shift personnel and 40 hours for non-shift personnel, increasing the current calendar year maximum benefit for dental from $1,500 to $2,500 and increasing lens allowance from every 24 months to every 12 months.
Vacaville Reporter - Metered Site

Cal Fire San Diego Crews Defending U.S. Land as Fire Burning in Tecate Moves North

Cal Fire San Diego crews are helping fire agencies south of the U.S.-Mexico border fight a fire burning hundreds of acres in Tecate, Mexico. The Tijuana Fire Department said the fire was burning near a van factory along a thoroughfare connecting Tijuana and Tecate south of unincorporated San Diego County's Dulzura area. Cal Fire has been monitoring the "Border Fire" since it sparked about two miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border before 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. Within an hour, the blaze had moved north and was about an eighth-of-a-mile away from the U.S. The fire agency had crews on the ready on the U.S. side of the border overnight in case the fire moved any further north but the blaze grew very little during those hours, the agency said. Cal Fire crews would use an aircraft Thursday morning to get the exact acreage burned. The Tecate Fire Department estimated the fire to be about 250 acres at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
NBC Los Angeles

Fiery explosions, evacuations at Lemon Grove house fire

An explosive fire broke out Wednesday afternoon at a home in Lemon Grove, Heartland Fire officials said. The flames erupted at 1783 Dupont Drive just before 4 p.m. and were accompanied by explosions, according to firefighters. When crews arrived at the scene, the home was 50 percent engulfed in flames. The Sheriff's Department told 10News neighboring homes were evacuated due to the safety risk. Crews at the scene resuscitated a cat in the front yard, 10News reporter Matt Boone said. It ran away after crews helped it. No one was injured. There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.
KGTV-TV ABC 10 San Diego

Crews battle fire near Highway 50 in Placerville

VIDEO: All lanes of Highway 50 are back open in Placerville after a truck caught fire and the flames spread to nearby vegetation Wednesday afternoon, officials said. Both eastbound and westbound lanes have reopened, Caltrans said in an update just before 5 p.m. The fire sparked near Greenstone Road around 1:20 p.m. The truck was hauling a trailer when it caught fire on the eastbound side of the highway. The fire then spread to the trailer, causing propane tanks to flare up, according to the California Highway Patrol. The fire charred an estimated 20 acres, Cal Fire said. Crews got to the scene quickly and were able to stop the forward progress of the blaze. No injuries were reported and no structures were damaged, Cal Fire said in an update. Homes off Studebaker Road were evacuated as crews responded. As of 2:30 p.m., the sheriff's office said it was starting to let people return home.

Northern California Fire Victims Can File Claims With PG&E

People affected by wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018 can soon file claims for housing assistance and other immediate needs with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. They can file their claims online through the website for the utility’s wildfire assistance program as early as this week. A federal judge overseeing PG&E’s bankruptcy case in May approved a $105 million fund to provide relief for people who lost property during the huge fires. The fund will cover victims of a series of fires including the Atlas, Camp, Nuns and Tubbs fires. The deadline to apply for the funds is November 15. Attorneys are also reminding victims who want to join the bankruptcy lawsuit against the utility that the deadline to file a claim is October 21.
NBC Los Angeles

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