Leadership

California: A State of Fire

Issue 10 and Volume 138.

California: A State of Fire FEATURES FIRE REPORTS Photo by Bill Clayton At 2:57 p.m. on July 8, 1985, the California Department of Forestry’s (CDF) Division Chief Jim Bliss transmitted the largest single order for fire apparatus and manpower in the department’s history: “Dispatch an additional 125 engines, 45 hand crews,1 and 100 bulldozers.” The veteran field commander had been directing the efforts of about 50 companies when the Lexington Fire,2 50 miles south of San Francisco, blew completely out of control, threatening some 2,400 rural and suburban homes. This was just one of the many fires that burned 400,000 acres of land in central, coastal, and southern California last June 30-July 13. Due to the large number of fires statewide, Chief Bliss’ full request for equipment could not be met. However, through the assistance of 47 different fire agencies, 275 engines (some traveling 500 miles), 27 hand crews, 47…

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