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Insurance Companies Hired Private Firefighters For California Wildfires

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New reports show many insurance companies hired private firefighters to protect wealthy clients across Northern California during October’s devastating wildfires.

“The winds were so horrendous, they were moving so hard, this fire was moving like a blow torch. You couldn’t stop it,” said Deputy Chief Scott McLean with Cal Fire.

While these companies can certainly help they can’t actually fight the fires, he added.

“They are not there to fight that fight. They are not there to fight that fire,” he said.

These private companies are hired by insurance agencies and must arrive before mandatory evacuations are in place.

These groups clear away flammables, such as brush and patio furniture and occasionally use fire retardant around those homes.

“They’re hired by the insurance companies to protect that property, in other words preparing that property for a fire,” McLean said.

While some may have private insurance, the 11,000 firefighters deployed during these fires by the state, however, fought for every home equally.

“We’re not going to discriminate what your castle is versus this castle or this home or that home,” he said.

Nearly 9,000 structures burned to the ground across Northern California during the October wind driven infernos.

Fires so intense they came without warning killing 43 people.

Cal Fire officials say your best defense against wildfires is preparation.

“Homeowners and the public need to be prepared,” he said.

http://calfire.ca.gov/communications/communications_firesafety_100feet

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