Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Rim Fire work exhausting, but rewarding, for Davis strike team

RimFireCrewW

Davis firefighters — from left, Blas Ayala, Luis Parrilla and Jamie Mills — unpack their gear upon their return last week from the front lines of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | September 13, 2013 |

The call for aid came on Aug. 27, days into what would soon become the third-largest wildfire in California history.
Within hours, the Davis Fire Department strike team was on the scene of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, where they would spend the next 10 days assigned to the operations division, protecting evacuated homes and other structures at the Hodgdon Meadow campground, near the park’s Highway 120 entrance.
“If and when the fire got to the entrance, we as a group would have the responsibility to protect that area,” Capt. Joe Tenney — who served on the strike team with fellow firefighters Blas Ayala, Jamie Mills and Luis Parrilla — recalled in an interview this week.
Their days began at 5 a.m. at a remote base camp, where they slept in trailers outfitted with as many as 50 cots that accommodated fire crews from across the country — even Alaska and Hawaii — who had come to help battle the blaze.
After their morning briefings, the crew headed out to their assigned location, where they would spend the next 12 hours — if not longer — clearing fire lines of brush, pine needles and other fuel, laying hose line in the event of the fire’s approach, and observing backfires to ensure that they wouldn’t jump the roadway.
“There’s an amazing amount of work that goes into these things,” said Tenney, who estimated that as many as 6,000 firefighters were assigned to the blaze during their time there. With some assignments, “you may never see the fire all day long. Other times you’re right in the middle of it.”
Tenney said the Rim Fire did make its way toward the Davis crew at one point, making its way down a hillside toward the Hodgdon Meadow buildings. It also had burned around their assigned base camp prior to their arrival, leaving the area thick with smoke.
And with the fire came the “snags” — dead or dying trees that were deliberately toppled for safety’s sake by crews known as “fallers.” Some of the trees measured as much as four to five feet in diameter.
“You could hear them all day long,” Tenney said. “You’d hear that crack, snap of the trunk, then you’d hear that crackle till it falls. It shakes the ground, if you’re close enough.”
When their shifts ended, the crew returned to base camp to refuel their engine, grab dinner and take much-needed showers, sometimes not getting to sleep until midnight.
“And then you do it all over again,” Tenney said.
But the work was rewarding, Tenney added, particularly when members of the community showed their appreciation to the visiting fire crews.
“The public is always very generous,” he said. “We don’t necessarily like the attention, but we appreciate it a lot.”
As of Thursday, the Rim Fire had burned 255,560 acres, or about 399 square miles, and was 80 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Meanwhile, another Davis Fire Department strike team has been dispatched to another California wildfire — the Clover fire in Shasta County, which so far has destroyed 68 homes and is being blamed for one fatality.
— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

     
    Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yoga and chanting workshop planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    ‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

     
    Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Weir honored, a year early

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

    For a good cause

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

     
    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    The magic is long gone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Experience nature’s treasures

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Subs have other concerns

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    What’s next with Ebola?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    More theories on the abstention

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rights beget responsibilities

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Water returns to its source

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A solution to the drought

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sharks suffer from road woes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

     
    Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    .

    Obituaries

    Lewis Melvin Dudman

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Ann Foley Scheuring

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B3