HomeNewsArticle Display

Vandenberg firefighters extend helping hand

Tim Murdoch observes the base camp Oct. 25 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Mr. Murdoch, an engineer from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., has been assigned to the base camp as the camp manager. Vandenberg AFB currently has 12 firefighters dispatched throughout Southern California in support of more than 26 fires that have burned more than 1,800 homes and 550,000 acres. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Vanessa Valentine)

Tim Murdoch observes the base camp Oct. 25 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Mr. Murdoch, an engineer from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., has been assigned to the base camp as the camp manager. Vandenberg AFB currently has 12 firefighters dispatched throughout Southern California in support of more than 26 fires that have burned more than 1,800 homes and 550,000 acres. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Vanessa Valentine)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- Vandenberg Air Force Base firefighters answered the call for help in the Southern California area as more than 26 fires that have burned more than 1,800 homes and 550,000 acres in late October.  

In a whirlwind of smoke, flame and ash, more than 1,800 homes and 550,000 acres have burned, but Vandenberg AFB firefighters are dispatched throughout Southern California helping to tame the wildfires.
 
The base currently has 12 firefighters in Camp Pendleton, Lake Arrowhead, Lancaster and Castaic Lake, and have had as many as 30 just recently return after extinguishing the Sedgwick Fire in Santa Barbara County.

"We have accumulated more than 40,000 man-hours in the last year in an effort to assist the local community in some pretty serious wildfires," said Devin Misiewicz, a Vandenberg AFB fire inspector. "We had a huge part to play in the Zaca fire earlier this year, with more than 30,000 man-hours spent fighting what was the second largest fire in California's history. More than 240,000 acres were burned in that fire."

And while Vandenberg AFB may not currently have as many firefighters out as they have had on previous fires, the ones they do have out are in key positions.

Tim Murdoch, an engineer with the department, was sent to Camp Pendleton in support of the Rice fire in Fallbrook as the base camp manager.

"My job here is to ensure that the firefighters supporting this fire have a place to come back and relax after working for 24 to 48 hours straight," Mr. Murdoch said, himself going on 36 hours without sleep. "Within 48 hours of putting in a call, this place ends up looking like a small city."

The town of Fallbrook had been completely evacuated and stores all around town had signs that read, "Closed for fire!"

"We have to make sure we have everything that is needed here because there isn't anywhere to go in town to get what we need," Mr. Murdoch said.

Other pieces of Vandenberg AFB's arsenal of fire weapons were sent to Coronado Island in San Diego and Castaic Lake near Palmdale. John Markley was sent to perform helicopter management duties at Coronado Island and is currently providing aerial support in the San Diego area.

Carolina Milan was sent to the Castaic Lake area as a dispatch manager for more than 3,000 firefighters.

"We have a team of four to six personnel that ensure we have firefighters and equipment in places that need it most," she said. 

The group that has been dispatched is diverse in their training and can do a variety of details when the need arises.

"Vandenberg has a very good training record with the National Forrest Service," Ms. Milan said. "We can do a variety of duties in each fire. I am doing dispatch for this fire, but I may be doing training or helicopter support on the next one."

The base has also dispatched a four-person crew to Lake Arrowhead and another four people to Camp Pendleton.

Firefighters from the base have been eager to head out the door to do their part; however, conditions at the base are perfect for a devastating fire here as well.

"We were issued our first red flag in the history of Vandenberg," Mr. Misiewicz said. "We have to have the resources available if something kicks off here.

"There's no end in sight right now," Mr. Misiewicz said. "We're still getting requests for support every day and each one is examined closely to see if we will be able to support it. We'll see what happens." 

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page

Engage

Twitter
As part of the AIM HIGH Flight Academy, students flew on a KC-135 during a routine refueling mission. This program… https://t.co/em8KGDqfwK
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Developing & fostering strategic partnerships helps improve interoperability between our nations! Check it out how the @97A
Twitter
RT @NORADCommand: NORAD needs to present credible, reliable, and globally integrated deterrence to protect Canada and the United States. #W
Twitter
Special Tactics operators participated in @AirMobilityCmd's Mobility Guardian 21 at Volk Field, Wisconsin. The team… https://t.co/28vQ4yuNcI
Twitter
Happy Birthday @USArmy! For 246 years, Soldiers with the U.S. Army have safeguarded our country from enemies forei… https://t.co/hTdJOpngQI
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: The @DoDEA approved Maxwell Elementary Middle School @MaxwellAFB as the first site for a four-year pilot program to open en…
Twitter
#Airmen and B-52 Stratofortress aircraft operating out of Morón Air Base, Spain, are demonstrating U.S. commitment… https://t.co/mVoSP7Rv9O
Twitter
The #AirForce Service Center launched a new website to serve as a single point of information for #Airmen,… https://t.co/k8VrbtpoP7
Twitter
RT @AFmuseum: Check out this view of the McDonnell XH-20 Little Henry, Bensen X-25A Gyrocopter and the American Helicopter Co. XH-26 Jet Je…
Twitter
.@AirNatlGuard #Airmen helped build Cherokee #veterans homes in Oklahoma as part of the @DeptofDefense's Innovative… https://t.co/9i0p5CgLER
Twitter
.@POTUS to #Airmen during his visit to @RAFMildenhall: "You’re the best of our country. Less than 1% of Americans… https://t.co/VlmUkvizpY
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: High energy lasers kill one target at a time, & high powered microwaves can kill groups or swarms, which is one reason that TH…
Twitter
Check out the latest #AirForce Week in Photos! Which one is your favorite? See the rest at https://t.co/PUTukgX3Qe https://t.co/bWyy06fZ3k
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: 10 cadets and midshipmen from the @WestPoint_USMA, the @NavalAcademy and the @AF_Academy visited @90thMissileWing as pa…
Twitter
#ABMS will deliver decision superiority to the @usairforce & @SpaceForceDoD. This is all-domain command and contr… https://t.co/52J0YQEQhn
Twitter
The 2-week training will focus on @GenCQBrownJr's #AccelerateChange Action Order C: Competition by dissecting the g… https://t.co/J97obvYz10
Twitter
Building on women’s hair updates announced in February 2021, beginning June 25 when hair is secured behind the head… https://t.co/kjocdaU8Co
Twitter
“When you look at the numbers, 500,000 is a lot of [#COVID19] vaccinations. That reflects every #Soldier and… https://t.co/0hDKneUwUU
Twitter
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is sponsoring a research project with the @WitchitaState's National Inst… https://t.co/r1SZzmLUGo
Twitter
.@NellisAFB recently hosted an #AirForce Weapons School Integration exercise that taught graduate-level instructor… https://t.co/sdRcG9Tqle
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,271
Follow Us