VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE – The 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department provided assistance to contain the Alisal fire that began on October 11, 2021, at Los Padres National Forest in Goleta, Calif.The blaze consumed approximately 17 000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents and ranchers.
The 30th CES Fire Department maintained the front lines, battling the blaze from Oct. 11-19, while the Incident Management Team continued to maintain a strong presence through Oct. 25, monitoring almost any memory of the fire. Demobilized on October 26, they returned to Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
With extensive continuing education from the 30th CES Fire Department, they were ready to successfully fight the blaze. At Vandenberg SFB, firefighters train on a wide variety of events that could occur, such as forest fires, rocket and missile events, medical emergencies, vehicle accidents.
“We train extensively to meet local, state and national forest fire standards. At Vandenberg, we have developed a two-week Fire Academy for our staff and we also attend many state courses to certify our firefighters, ”said Mark Farias, 30th CES Fire Chief. “Most of our people have a lot of experience. Our senior fire officers all have extensive command post experience and are part of county and state incident command teams. We do not allow anyone to fight a forest fire until they are properly trained and certified. They train like their life depends on it because it does.
The 30th CES Fire Department is part of the nationwide system called Interagency Resource Control Capability, which allows different departments across the country to view and assign resource availability and update their readiness. Because Vandenberg SFB has aid agreements with local, state, and federal agencies, when new incidents arise, the 30th CES Fire Department can plan and coordinate accordingly when called upon to help.
“It is absolutely extraordinary that our first responders put themselves at risk in such a selfless way, day after day, month after month and year after year,” said Farias. “Our firefighters are always learning, changing, adjusting, adapting, evolving and improving. They are successful because the fires inside them burn harder than the fires around them.