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Wildfires in the West: No One Is Coming to Help

Multi-state regional disasters suck resources back.

by Eric Holdeman / September 10, 2020

When I do disaster presentations these days I title them, "No one is coming to help." This is especially true for multi-state regional disasters like a Cascadia earthquake fault rupture, or for today -- wildfires on the West Coast. 

California, Oregon and Washington are all dealing with widlfires internal to their own states. Mutual aid from neighboring fire authorities are not available due to their having to fight fires in their own districts. Some resources were shared with California early in this firestorm, but those have largely been recalled to their own states. Other states to the east are having their own wildfires and we are entering the peak wildfire season (yes, we will see even more risk in the next couple of months).

California has gotten some international help from as far away as Australia and Israel. But those numbers are few. 

The National Guard in each state is contributing what they can, and the last resource available are active duty troops who are not trained firefighters, but can help in areas that are being mopped up. 

Records continue to fall in what is shaping up to be an unprecedented fire season -- as four out of the last five in California have been. 

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