Heroes 200. Bureaucrats 0.

200 people were completely encircled by the current round of wildfires in California.

CALFIRE – the agency with the Suharto-esque title responsible for fighting the state’s wildfires – wrote them off.

And then, as the California National Guard went to rescue them anyway, CALFIRE told them to wave off.

The Guard did it anyway.

Entire thread on Twitter:

It was a moment of immense heroism, and a Berg’s Third Law reference if there ever was one.

It’s been a bad year for bureaucratic “experts”.

8 thoughts on “Heroes 200. Bureaucrats 0.

  1. You’re making a bad point, I think. It was, yes, “a moment of immense heroism” but I believe according to Schlichter, who served with the Guard, CalFire was not equipped nor qualified to handle the rescue effort.

  2. It’s struck me for a long time what while they’re not trained firefighters, the military does have the equipment that’s basically designed to handle these things, plus training in getting that equipment to the “point of use” in rather adverse conditions. Maybe it’s time to consider using this capital? If you leave it to CalFire, it seems you’ve got dozens to hundreds of fatalities instead of a “Hooah F*** yeah” moment.

    And really, your alternative is that you give CalFire all the money they want for equipment….equipment that apart from a month a year every few years goes unused.

  3. BB – you can put someone through basic wildfire training in 24 hours. The military has been used plenty in the past – I recall mid-90’s units being deployed for that duty. But, the military is never in charge. It’s also a more expensive option than using convicts. And, civilian heavy equipment operators start lawsuits if you use the Guard instead of them.

    I’m not defending CALFIRE. And, the pilot in charge of the aircraft made a solid moral call – saving life when able to. I’m saying that there are plenty of roadblocks to using the military as the first line of fire defense. And, that time they spend fighting fires is time not spent practicing the stomp and drag, and other wonderful riot control procedures.

  4. Do hope they get the Soldier’s Medal for this. (That is the Army award for bravery when not in combat)

  5. SMH, thanks–and quite frankly, I can defend Calfire in this, since they’re the ones whose experience with military hardware would largely be obsolete aircraft that wouldn’t quite have the same capabilities–well, except for the Chinook, I guess, which has been around forever if I remember correctly, predating Sikorsky by millenia. :^)

    My thought is just that if the marginal cost of operation isn’t prohibitive, you’ve got a bunch of equipment designed specifically, and people trained specifically, to get large amounts of “stuff” into “less than optimal” environments, you might as well use it. I would even say it’s good training for going into the smoke and such of battle, no?

  6. BB – the Chinook flying today is very different than 30 years ago. They probably still leak hydraulic fluid, but the electronics available give many advantages.

    I agree that there’s a lot of experience in doing what you’re discussing, and would be beneficial. Part of the problem also becomes how do they work with others? The Incident Command System started in California, with WW2 veterans. It’s similar to the military, but there are plenty of coordination issues. Radios don’t talk to each other. Different radio procedures. The folks on the ground will make it work, as most are focused on stopping fires. But, there’s always the ones focused on getting the credit

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