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SoCal Firefighters Take Break in YC

July 9, 2008

By Nancy Pasternack, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Jul. 9–The Feather River Hospital in Paradise was evacuated Tuesday afternoon, and new evacuation notices went out for residents in a wide swath of the region near the Butte Lightning Complex fires.

A strike team from Southern California made up of 23 Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Culver City firefighters had orders to travel to Butte County to help protect 1,200 homes determined to be threatened by the fires — some of them for the second or third time in several weeks.

“The fires didn’t go out, so we’re going up there to deal with some threatened structures,” said Capt. Dennis Andrews from the Beverly Hills Fire Department.

He and the rest of the strike team members stopped in Yuba City on Tuesday evening for a quick meal in the parking lot of Raley’s.

Several team members were making their second trip to Butte County in a month.

“The heat, low humidity and wind conditions helped the fires flare back up,” said Beverly Hills Fire Battalion Chief Edward LaFouge, a 28-year veteran firefighter.

LaFouge and Andrews remember taking part in efforts to battle an epic fire closer to home in the fall of 1993, when 366 homes and 17,000 acres burned in Laguna Canyon and Laguna Beach area in a single day.

In the nearby town of Concow, 40 homes and 10 outbuilding were destroyed Tuesday after erratic winds blew embers across fire containment lines.

In Paradise, 74 homes were reported destroyed as of Tuesday evening.

Evacuations were also in effect for the small mountain towns of Berry Creek, Milsap Bar and Brush Creek.

Three Red Cross shelters had been opened Tuesday in Butte County for evacuees, including two in Oroville and one in Chico.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

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