John Felde: Kudos for firefighters |

John Felde: Kudos for firefighters

I arrived home one afternoon to find a rapidly developing fire spreading uphill toward my home and those of my neighbors.

The fire apparatus were arriving and the bombers were already making drops. With 31 years of fire service in urban wildland interface fires, I knew just how fast these fires can develop and was quite concerned.

Within minutes there were four air tankers, two helicopters, an air attack aircraft, two dozers and several engines, brush rigs and water tenders on the scene. Hose lines were laid and hand crews were making initial attacks slowing the upward progress of the fire. Soon engine companies were deployed to the threatened houses up the steep slope. All of this activity by several different agencies was being carefully coordinated by overhead personnel.

The end result was the containment of this fire to about 10 acres within an hour or so. This was an immediate and very successful operation carried out by your local departments. Anything less than this timely effort would have resulted in a markedly different outcome.

The following agencies deserve lots of praise and thanks: Cal Fire; Peardale Chicago Park Fire District; Nevada County Consolidated; Grass Valley Fire Dept.; Ophir Hill Fire District; Nevada City Fire Dept.; Placer Hills Fire Dept.; Auburn Fire Dept.; Newcastle Fire Dept.; North San Juan Volunteer Fire Dept.; Cal Fire dispatch center and whatever hand crew responded.

Incidentally, there was considerable recognition given to the homeowners’ efforts to provide defensible space. It works! Thanks to all the firefighters for your efforts.

John Felde is a retired deputy chief for the San Jose Fire Dept. He lives in Grass Valley.

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