Town Of Moraga

Lamorinda Disaster Response Training - A Rim Fire Experience

In early September, Dennis Rein, MOFD’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, invited Chief Priebe to join him at the Rim Fire Incident Command (IC), near Groveland, CA, for a personal view of how a major disaster response is managed. Dennis is assigned to a Disaster Response Team and was summoned to the Rim Fire to serve as a Liaison Officer for this major fire that, at one point, required 5,000 firefighters, including personnel from MOFD and many other Bay Area agencies. The Rim Fire, currently winding down, has burned approximately 402 square miles of forest at a cost of over $125 million.
Chief Priebe arrived at the IC and was amazed to see smoldering and burning trees right up to the edge of the roadway into the IC, with thick smoke enveloping the entire area. The smoke and warm weather made it difficult to breathe, with red eyes and coughing the norm for most at the IC. The scale and magnitude of the equipment and personnel assigned to the fire and the speed with which everything needs to be accomplished creates significant management challenges. The photo shows the Chief atop a fire lookout tower at a heliport base inside Yosemite National Park and illustrates one portion of the fire and its rapid movement.

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