September 12, 2013
The Yocha Dehe Fire Department (YDFD) has just wrapped up an intense six weeks of firefighting operations at four major fires across California: the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, the Orleans Complex Fire in Six Rivers National Forest near Eureka, the Swedes Fire in Butte County and the Hough Fire near Quincy.
As part of its participation in California Mutual Aid Agreements and the Yolo County Strike Team, YDFD firefighters and paramedics were on the front lines, working side by side with agencies from across the state. At the peak, Yolo County departments, including YDFD, had 45 firefighters, 12 engines and three supervisors working fires in other parts of the state.
“Working cooperatively and effectively with other departments to save lives and protect property is at the core of what we do and for what we train,” said Gary Fredericksen, YDFD Fire Chief. “When our department was created by the people of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, being ready and equipped to protect our entire community was the top priority.”
At the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, YDFD firefighters and equipment were part of a five department Yolo County Strike Team. They began their deployment in Tuolumne City, where they joined crews protecting homes and business structures. They were then assigned to ‘hot shot’ teams that moved, on foot, into wooded areas of Yosemite National Park. Using only hand tools and working 24 hour shifts, they set back fires to slow the spread of the enormous blaze that has consumed more than 250,000 acres.
Over a 28 day span starting in early August, four YDFD paramedics were deployed to the Orleans Complex fire in the Six River National Forest near Eureka where two different fires merged to burn 21,680 acres. YDFD paramedics provided critical treatment to heat exhausted firefighters, and to one firefighter with a bee sting who went into anaphylactic shock.