VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE -- The 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department provided assistance to contain the Alisal Fire which started Oct. 11, 2021, at Los Padres National Forest in Goleta, Calif. The fire consumed approximately 17,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents and ranchers.

The 30th CES Fire Department upheld the front lines, fighting the fire from October 11- 19, while the Incident Management Team continued to maintain a strong presence until October 25, closely monitoring closely for any reminisce of the fire. Demobilizing on October 26, they returned to Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.

Thanks to the extensive ongoing training of the 30th CES fire department, they were prepared to successfully combat the fire. When at Vandenberg SFB, the firefighters train on a wide variety of events that could occur, such as wildland fires, rocket & missile events, medical emergencies, vehicle accidents.

“We train to extensively to meet local, state and national wildland fire standards. At Vandenberg, we have developed a 2-week Fire Academy for our personnel and we also attend lots of state classes to certify our firefighters,” said Mark Farias, 30th CES fire chief. “Most of our folks have lots of experience. Our senior fire officers all have extensive experience in command positions and are part of the County and State Incident Command Teams. We don’t allow anyone to combat a wildland fire until they are properly trained and certified. They train as if their life depends on it because it does.”

The 30th CES Fire Department is a part of the national system called Interagency Resource Ordering Capability, which allows different departments across the country to see and assign resource’s availability and update their readiness status. Since Vandenberg SFB has aid agreements with local, state and federal agencies, when new incidents emerge the 30th CES Fire Department can plan and coordinate accordingly when called upon to help.

“The fact that our first responders so selflessly put themselves in harm’s way, day after day, month after month and year after year, is absolutely extraordinary,” said Farias. “Our firefighters learn, change, adjust, adapt, evolve and always improve. They succeed because the fires inside them burn brighter than the fires around them.”

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