(Updates – Video) Military Join Efforts to Battle Southern California Wildfires
Marines assist in efforts to contain the Cocos fire in San Marcos, Calif., May 15, 2014. The Marines, assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, partnered with state officials to conduct aerial firefighting against several wildfires ablaze in San Diego County.
U.S. Marines assist in efforts to contain Cocos fire in San Marcos, Calif., May 15, 2014.
Marines and a fire crew respond to wildfires ablaze on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 15, 2014. The Tomahawk fire, in the northeast section of Camp Pendleton, has burned more than 6,000 acres, forcing evacuations of housing areas on base and various schools on and off base. .
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We started covering the assistance the U.S. military are giving to battle the wildfires in Southern California as part of the “Military Week in Photos” coverage, but the extent of the fires and of the military involvement merit a separate post.
Pentagon spokesman n Army Col. Steven Warren said today. “Emergency management officials in Southern California have been battling some pretty intense wildfires over the past few days…DOD personnel and equipment based in the Southern California area have been assisting local first responders with fire suppression operations.”
The colonel described Navy and Marine Corps efforts to help subdue the wildfires using resources from military installations in the region.
“The Marine Corps is supporting the effort with five CH-53 Super Stallions and eight CH-46 Chinook helicopters,” Warren said.
“The Navy provided six MH-60 Seahawk helicopters. Additionally, firefighters from Navy bases at Coronado, San Diego, Point Loma [and] El Centro are supporting neighboring civilian firefighters with five trucks and approximately 50 personnel.”
Smoke fills the sky as wildfires burn in and around Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook in San Diego County, Calif. California-based U.S. Navy and Marine Corps helicopters were tasked to assist with firefighting efforts at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and surrounding areas after numerous wildfires affected San Diego County. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Orrin Farmer)
Warren also noted the wildfires have affected military installations, personnel and families in the region, forcing evacuations.
“One fire line, known as the Tomahawk fire line, has caused closures and evacuations of portions of Camp Pendleton and Naval Weapon Station Fallbrook,” he said. “To date, 356 families have been evacuated to shelters on other parts of Camp Pendleton. More than 6,300 acres on Camp Pendleton have burned so far.”
More than 380 civilian and military firefighters are engaged in fighting that fire, the colonel said.
A MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 takes off to assist in aerial firefighting in Camp Pendleton, Calif. HSC-3 is assisting California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection by providing aircrews flying specially-equipped MH-60S helicopters to conduct aerial water drops against wildfires in San Diego County. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings)
Lead image: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, collects water in a Bambi bucket during aerial firefighting efforts in California, May 14, 2014. Aircraft from the 3rd MAW are partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to conduct aerial firefighting against several wildfires ablaze in San Diego County. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Carl Atherton.
I know that our editor-in-chief and a couple of our regular readers live in the San Diego area.
We wish them, and all other people in the wildfire areas, well.