The County Fire Department recently sent a rescue boat to Shasta Lake to help crews access the two fires there. Photos by Fire Captain Ryan Grebe.

County of SLO Firefighters Help Crews Near Shasta Lake

Author: County Fire Department
Date: 8/21/2018 1:43 PM

The San Luis Obispo County Fire Department (CAL FIRE SLO) is helping fire crews fight two fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in a rather unusual way.

The County Fire Department sent one of our rescue boats (Boat 33), normally assigned to protect boaters on Lake Nacimiento, to Shasta Lake to help crews access the Carr Fire and Hirz Fire. The steep terrain surrounding the lake has made some areas of the fires only accessible by water.

“The boat and crew are making a big difference,” said CALFIRE/ San Luis Obispo County Fire Chief Scotty Jalbert.

The County Fire Department sent the boat on August 1 and local crews have been assigned to Shasta Lake in support of the Carr fire in Shasta County ever since. The boat has been released this morning and will be back in San Luis Obispo County tonight.

“As I understand, they have been shuttling crews and equipment around the lake and fire via boats in areas that are inaccessible by roads, or at least are more easily accessed by water,” said Chris Elms, the Public Information Officer for the CALFIRE/ San Luis Obispo County Fire Department.

County crews have also been supporting helicopter dip sites at the lake by keeping civilian boaters out of the areas where helicopters are picking up water, Elms said.

CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Josh Campbell, who has been working the Carr Fire incident for weeks told a television news station that the Hirz Fire and Carr Fire are both burning parts of the Shasta Trinity National Forest but are miles apart from each other. Both fires have natural barriers that make them difficult for fire crews to access.

“There’s two ways – we could either do a crew shuttle by helicopter or a crew shuttle by boat,” Campbell told KRCR News Channel. “Using a boat is the best, efficient and safe way… Most of them are very willing to do what they have to do to get the job done. It would take a long time to hike the crews around the perimeter of the lake, so we utilize the boats to access the pieces of line that we need to in the fastest manner.”

According to the news reports, crews expect to have the Carr Fire fully contained within the next few days. However, the Hirz Fire remains a concern.

The County will be reimbursed for the boat and for our personnel’s time, Jalbert added.