WILLIAMS (CBS13) — Red Flag conditions are expected to continue into this weekend. To prepare for the fire danger, strike teams throughout California have been pre-positioned.
The Williams fire station is small and mostly volunteer, but the creation of this task force puts some of them on a larger stage fighting bigger fires. On Wednesday morning, some of the volunteers from the Williams fire department were called to be part of a pre-position task force.
“We got four type, three engines and one water tender and we are ready to respond to anything that will happen,” Captain Arturo Minutti said.
The task force is paid for with $20 million from the Office of Emergency Services. There are dozens of firefighters who are part of it across the north state, including 16 from four departments in Colusa County.
Within hours of being deployed, they responded to two fires, including one in a rice field. Their local knowledge is key to containment.
“We know how to fight those fires. Sometimes we just try to control the fire and back burn it and let it do its thing and there’s times that we have to engage it,” said Minutti.
All strike team personnel have conducted controlled burns to eliminate vegetation that could fuel fires and helped clear defensible space around area homes and businesses. They have also undergone extensive training used for fighting fires in rough terrain where engines can’t go.
Rex Mayes owns Williams Soaring Center. He is grateful the strike team is in place for businesses like his.
“There are plenty of businesses around here that have a fuel exposure and if they get a fire, these guys are already out together,” said Rex Mayes.
The task force was only going to be in place until tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., but it looks like they will be extended through the weekend.