Novato firefighters have been sent to three different wildfires across California, including the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County, that has claimed 54,000 acres as of Thursday afternoon, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to issue a state of emergency.
Chief Jeff Veliquette, a longtime firefighter with the Novato Fire District, has been assigned the role of Strike Team Leader for the Rim Fire and will lead a team of five fire engines and 22 firefighters near Yosemite.
The blaze covers 84 square miles, is threatening 2,500 structures and has already cost $2.8 million, according to NBC.
Veliquette is one of 60 firefighters from Marin County who have been sent to the blaze, part of a mutual aid agreement between fire agencies in the state.
Another four firefighters from Novato have been sent to the Corral Fire in the Trinity Alps Wilderness east of Arcata. They include Captain Steve White, Engineer Owen Valuch, Kari Hamby and Keef Kiser.
The Corral Fire covers approximately 8,646 acres, much of it steep terrain with heavy brush and timber. The fire started from a lighting strike Monday night.
Novato Fire Captain Chis Wikeen, meanwhile, has been deployed to the Butler Fire in Siskiyou County. The fire is approximately 14,335 acres, 95 percent of which has already been contained.
Fire Chief Mark Heine said the mutual aid provided by Novato firefighters is part of a well-established system utilized during large incidents.
“The Novato Fire District and our firefighters are committed to our role in the State of California fire mutual aid system,” he said. “This system ensures that firefighting resources are made available to any community when that community is threatened, in this case by wildfires.”
He added that Marin County has also received outside help in times of need, including the 1995 Vision Fire in Pt. Reyes.
Don't miss a thing in Novato!