Los Padres Fire and Aviation Management (old ver.)

Fire Organization

Chief - Anthony Escobar

Deputy Chief - Brad Joos

Firefighting Preparedness

Funding under the National Fire Plan has resulted in the hiring and training of additional firefighting resources in Los Padres National Forest to prevent and detect fires, provide prompt initial attack, and ensure that there are more resources available when there are several large fires occurring at one time. The improved organization has resulted in increased effectiveness in the ability to stop wildfires before they become destructive and costly events. It has also improved employee safety.

Resources are stationed at these locations:

Monterey County
Fire engines: Big Sur, Pacific Valley, Nacimiento, Arroyo Seco, Fort Hunter Liggett
Hand crews: Fort Hunter Liggett (20 person regional hand crew)
Patrol units: 3, based at Pacific Valley, Big Sur, Arroyo Seco

San Luis Obispo County
Fire engines: Pozo
Water tender: Pozo
Type 1 Helicopter with helishot crew: Arroyo Grande
Patrol units: 1, based at Arroyo Grande

Santa Barbara County
Fire engines: Pine Canyon, New Cuyama, Figueroa, San Marcos, Santa Ynez Airport Station, Los Prietos, Foothill (at Santa Barbara Airport), Rincon, Gibraltar Road/SB City Station 7
Hotshot Crew: Los Prietos
Patrol units:
5, based at Pine Canyon, Los Prietos (2), Rincon, Figueroa
Water tender: Santa Ynez Airport
Bulldozer: Pine Canyon, Los Prietos
Type 2 Helicopter with helitack crew: Santa Ynez Airport
Air attack plane: Santa Barbara Airport

Ventura County
Fire engines: Casitas, Ojai, Temescal (near Lake Piru), Ozena, Sespe (in Fillmore), Wheeler Gorge, Chuchupate (in Frazier Park)
Type 3 Helicopter with helitack crew: Chuchupate
Water tender: Casitas
Patrol units: Ojai (east front country and Hwy 150/Hwy 33 corridors), Chuchupate, Ozena

Kern County
Fire engines: Apache Saddle (2)
Patrol units: two shared with Ventura County-area

Los Angeles County
Fire engine: Los Alamos Station (co-located with Angeles National Forest engine along Interstate 5)

Our helicopter fleet is supplemented during fires by additional federal contract helicopters and air tankers, plus helicopters and air tankers supplied by our county and state cooperators. The California Air National Guard maintains a fleet of C-130 aircraft equipped with the “Modular Airborne Firefighting System” (MAFFS) that can be called into action if needed. The Forest Service Air Attack Base at Santa Barbara Airport supports an “air attack plane” and a fire retardant operation to service air tankers. The placement of federal air tankers is determined day-to-day through a national protocol that considers current and predicted fire activity and values at risk.

How the Fire Organization is managed.

Los Padres Fire personnel are part of a much larger group of agency cooperators which combine and share resources to accomplish the fire suppression and management job on Forest Service lands, and lands managed by our partners.

In the summer, during the height of wildfire season, there are more than 300 employees working in fire management. During the winter, the fire organization shrinks by more than half as work emphasizes fuels management and preparation for the coming fire season.

The fire organization of the Los Padres National Forest is organized into five divisions: North Division, Central Division, South Division, Air Attack Division and Command Center.

Under the divisions are five battalions. The battalions include approximately 20 fire engines. Major auxiliary units include the Vandenberg Training Center and Dispatch Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Three handcrews, including the Los Prietos Hotshots, three helitack crews, along with the fire engine crews, handle the direct fire work.

During large fires or other emergencies a temporary organization is created consisting of Forest Service employees who leave their normal jobs assume other responsibilities. Emergency staffing is organized using the Incident Command System. Under the Incident Commander are four sections: operations, planning, logistics, and finance/administration. This universal management systm makes it easy to combine qualified employees from many agencies on a common goal.

Emergency staffing is organized using the Incident Command System. Under the Incident Commander are 4 sections: operations, planning, logistics, and finance/administration. A smaller incident may have individuals performing multiple functions. This universal management system makes it easy to combine qualified employees from many agencies on a common goal.

In order to quickly mobilize for emergency incidents, yearly planning is done between cooperating agencies. Areas are mapped and primary and secondary responsibilities are assigned to individual units. Incident management teams are organized and trained in advance of emergencies so the coordinated response runs smoothly from the beginning of the incident.

Forest Service teams have been dispatched to help with National emergencies, such as the World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster and International incidents such as the fires in Mexico in 1998 and floods in Honduras in 1999.