UPDATE 1 | MARCH 4, 2023, SATURDAY | 1345 PT
California has portions of its State literally buried under feet of snow and the Governor calling a State of Emergency. Just several weeks earlier in the month of February, things were much different and not many people would believe such a heavy snowfall could possibly impact areas with some of them not seeing it ever.
!! EMERGENCIES: Call the HOTLINE at 909-387-3911 !!
!! LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY: Call 9-1-1 !!
This post was made on February 10 and less than 14 days later, the weather and the landscape would forever change.
Here are the agencies working together and what they are doing in their communities.
AMERICAN RED CROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Faces behind the Response | Volunteers are responding to all areas where they are needed. Here is one of the many volunteers working to help residents in a community. Check out the height of the snow bank. | Photo Credit: ARC
US FOREST SERVICE | ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST
Road Closures | Most major roads into the Angeles National Forest have been closed as a result of the winter storms. To check for more information, you can find it on their website at bit.ly/3ZHHjDF
LA County Public Works | SBC Public Works | Both areas are listed because they are part of the Incident Cooperator group which is assisting area/county / state and federal agencies.
Traffic Accidents | AMR has been running from one incident to another as cars collided with one another.
CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD
Joint Task Force Rattlesnake | The California National Guard’s Joint Task Force Rattlesnake is going door-to-door checking on area residents and shoveling snow from homes at Lake Arrowhead. They have supported CAL FIRE and CAL OES agencies in San Bernardino County.
Stats | On March 2, 2023, CAL FIRE was requested via CAL OES to provide additional support to San Bernardino County. They committed six Hand Crew STrike Teams, three Task Force Strike Teams, and eight Overhead Personnel for a total of 255 employees. They are also assisting County and local fire agencies, such as San Bernardino County Fire.
Task Forces | Firefighters are no longer fighting wildfires but instead fighting another kind of natural phenomenon, snow, with resources that include Hand Crew Strike Teams to Task Forces and the support of Overhead Personnel.
San Bernardino Mountains | Personnel and members with the CAL FIRE BDU are working in conjunction with the CA National Guard and other resources in the San Bernardino Mountains of Crestline to remove snow from roofs, gas meters, and driveways at homes in the area.
CAL FIRE TUU has also sent a task force of personnel to San Bernardino County today due to recent winter storms. This task force will assist with snow removal efforts in the mountain communities. It consists of two Type 3 fire engines, four utility vehicles, and a task force leader.
CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit | On March 2, Fire and EMS crews used a rescue sled also known as a Sked, to transport a non-ambulatory (cannot walk out on their own two feet) from their house to an awaiting ambulance. Challenges occurred when they had to step onto snow-covered steep driveways and safely over mounds of snow.
Fallen trees also made it difficult for Fire apparatus to get through on blocked or covered rural roadways.
CAL FIRE Butte Unit / Butte County FD |
County and CAL FIRE firefighters worked tirelessly to dig out from their own fire stations some are located in the mountains and to help mitigate a lower risk of damage to their agency’s infrastructure.
California Conservation Corps | The Placer Crew has also been assisting with snow removal but additionally with fallen trees.
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
Teamwork | Resources from the San Bernardino County Fire Department are working together alongside CAL OES, CHP, and the CA Department of Corrections are helping dig from underneath a high number of feet of snow.
Fire Responses | Firefighters and other personnel along with specialized apparatus responded to many urgent calls for service. | Photo Credit: SBCounty FD
Damage Assessment / Report Online | The SBCFD has created a damage assessment application to report damage online.
FIRE FACT | From Mt. Baldy to the eastern edge of Big Bear Valley over nine feet of snow dumped in the area
Wrightwood and Surrounding Communities | Crews worked around the clock to respond to the needs of the community with an Engine Company, Snow Cat, Medicc Ambulance, and a Hand Crew which are continually being staffed at Fire Station 14. | Photo Credit: SBCFD
Fire crews are also checking on infrastructure, accessing and providing essential goods to residents with needs, and helping dig out area fire hydrants.
Firefighters weren’t the only ones out digging out fire hydrants but with the hand of hand crew members and local Snowline Joint Unified School District ROP student volunteers and a school teacher.
Here’s what firefighters want you to know: “Fire hydrants are crucial to life safety & property conservation. It can take up to 30 minutes for firefighters to locate and access a snow-covered hydrant once on the scene of a fire. Consider taking a few moments this week to help expose your neighborhood’s hydrant.”
Ready When Called | More snowstorms have been predicted in today and the coming days. This State is under a State of Emergency sending hundreds, if not thousands of personnel, and equipment from the State, Federal, County, and local levels to the hardest hit areas.
Call 9-1-1 for Emergencies
Gas Meter PSA | If you know where your meter is and can safely remove snow around the meter, do so. Be careful not to damage the meter as you remove snow. Gently clear snow away by hand or broom. Don’t use a shovel or other sharp tools. If you smell gas, call 911 or SoCalGas at 800-427-2200.
Snowcats Instead of Fire Engines | Due to heavy and impassable roadways, the only way to respond with firefighters and Paramedics is to use alternative measures, such as snowcats. Check out these guys here.
SAN BERNARDINO SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Search and Rescue Missions | On Friday night, 20 people were requested to be transported off of the mountain. This morning, their SAR team members are continuing their efforts to go door-to-door to check on residents, while Deputites are delivering MREs to families who need food.
Minimize Travel | The Sheriff’s Office is asking folks to limit their travel to essential needs only to avoid future SAR missions to rescue and transport you / your party out of the area.
**Distribution Points ** as of 3/4/2023 1148 hours PT.
- Crestline | Goodwins Market – 24089 Lake Gregory Drive
- Running Springs | Charles Hoffman Elementary School – 2851 Running Springs Road, Running Springs
- Wrightwood | Wrightwood Elementary, 1175 Hwy 2, Wrightwood – ONLY until 1600 hours today
Aviation Unit | The air unit conducted an assessment of snowy conditions in the mountains on March 2, 2023. This will help with planning for all agencies working together.
CA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Prison Inmates/Firefighters with the DOC are also assisting with snow removal in hardest-hit areas, such as San Bernardino County.
CAL TRANS DISTRICT
Working Tirelessly | CAL Trans District 8 members along with others have been working tirelessly since the beginning of the snow storms the last week of February into the first week of March.
Traffic Alert! (1055PT) | Caltrans District 3 states chain controls are now in effect on Hwy 32 in Butte County between Nopel Road in Forest Ranch and Humboldt Road in Lomo. The speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph.
Weather Impacting Roadway Alerts | On February 23, 2023, Caltrans District 8 sent out a broadcast stating people will notice the snow in areas where it’s not normal at. This storm is a big one and to stay off the roadways. At this time, snow was already falling on Cajon Pas.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Weather Forecast | On February 22nd, the NWS in San Diego stated a major witner storm was unfolding across Southern California, the strongest they have ever seen in the last several years. They stated there would be major impacts that would be possible for their region, with heavy snowfall in the mountains and heavy rain with flooding being possible. The heaviest precip will be on Friday night through Saturday.
Weather Forecast from Hanford Weather Station | Another round of snow has been predicted to impact the State yet again. On March 3rd, weather forecasters: “A storm system will be responsible for snow in the Sierra Nevada and adjacent foothills Saturday afternoon through Sunday night. Here are elevation profile graphics for accumulating snow along Highway 41, Highway 140, and Highway 198.”
(c) 2023 NW Fire Blog