‘Team Blaze’: California boasts nation’s first all-hazards military firefighting strike team
The state’s OES and military department partnership seeks to strengthen California’s ability to quickly respond to climate-driven disasters
By FireRescue1 staff
MATHER, Calif. — The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California Military Department (Cal Guard) last week announced the creation of the nation’s first all-hazards military fire engine strike team – Team Blaze – to be operated by the state’s military department.
Cal Guard maintains a firefighting program at its military bases, with trained personnel providing fire prevention, mitigation and protection services across California, including at military bases and camps.
Now, Cal OES is assigning a Type VI strike team of wildland-style fire engines to Cal Guard to enhance California’s Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid fleet.
The California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System includes a fleet of more than 270 fire engines across 60 local partners statewide that can respond to incidents of all types. Cal OES facilitates the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, which currently moves local government resources across the state in support of all-risk emergency response on behalf of local, state, and federal government fire organizations. Cal OES assigns local government fire agencies with fire apparatus to maintain surge capacity during day-to-day duties and major events/emergencies.
With a four-person crew and 300 gallons of water, the newest engine additions to system are outfitted to support a variety of emergency situations, from responding to wildfires in rural settings to protecting structures in urban areas and performing urban search and rescue operations.
The engines are in addition to Cal Guard’s existing Task Force Rattlesnake hand crew program consisting of soldiers and airmen. Since the start of operations in 2019, Task Force Rattlesnake has cut, cleared and treated at-risk wildfire project areas in central and northern parts of California.
According to Cal OES, Team Blaze highlights the state’s “commitment to innovative solutions to tackle climate-induced natural disasters.”