Nine Lathrop Manteca Fire District personnel are currently deployed as part of joint strike teams dispatched to fires ravaging California.
According to Lathrop Fire Chief Gene Neely, who is currently on a fire up near Quincy, the agency has dispatched as many personnel as they can spare while at the same time providing coverage levels for each of its stations.
In addition to Neely – who last year began working as a Division Group Supervisor for a Type 1 Incident Management Team – the agency has also dispatched Division Chief Larry Madoski and seven other firefighters to join a team that included representatives from the Manteca Fire Department, the Lathrop Manteca Fire District, the Linden Peters Fire District, the Clements Fire District, and Mokelumne Fire.
The combined team comprises more than two dozen local firefighters.
According to Neely, the team was just recently released from a fire in Southern California and is now assigned to the LNU Complex fire that is burning in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Lake Counties – already one of the two largest forest fires in California history.
An unusual lightning storm more than a week ago sparked the massive blazes that have blanketed the Central Valley with a thick cover of smoke – forcing cancellations of many outdoor activities and sending air quality indexes into the unhealthy level. The nearby fire in Del Puerto Canyon outside of Patterson – which is also currently one of the three largest wildfires in California history – is believed to be responsible for depositing ash onto homes and vehicles over the course of the last week.
“We know valley air is smokey and we are doing our best to get a handle on these fires for our residents,” read a message from Cal Fire Strike Team XSJ4180-C posted to the Lathrop Manteca Fire District’s Facebook page. “All stations are fully staffed from each agency and the State of California reimburses for expenses.”
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