Portland District supports clean up efforts after California Wildfires

In response to the 2015 Butte and Valley Wildfires in Northern California, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed upwards of 20 emergency responders from St. Paul, Portland and Los Angeles districts to assist Sacramento District's support of efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide emergency housing and debris cleanup to affected communities. (Photo by Rick Benoit, Corps of Engineers)

In response to the 2015 Butte and Valley Wildfires in Northern California, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed upwards of 20 emergency responders from St. Paul, Portland and Los Angeles districts to assist Sacramento District’s support of efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide emergency housing and debris cleanup to affected communities. (Photo by Rick Benoit, Corps of Engineers)

 

Last September more than 300 firefighters battled the Butte Fire in central California’s Calaveras County while 250 fire fighters fought the Valley Fire in Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties in northern California. Both fires consumed almost 150,000 acres of mountainous terrain, neighborhoods and city blocks, killing ten people and destroying nearly 2,500 homes and other structures.

By early October, the fires were out and clean up started but cumulatively, these fires were the third most costly in California history.

Authorized by a presidential disaster declaration, Portland District assisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Corps’ Sacramento District with emergency support services. With this, Rick Benoit, Dive/ROV Operations program manager, deployed for 35 days to FEMA’s Joint Field Office as an action officer and debris subject matter expert.

Benoit led efforts to estimate the cost to the government to remove destroyed and damaged trees from roads, neighborhoods, parks and campgrounds. He also helped train FEMA personnel to monitor removal efforts of trees and vegetative debris completed by contractors.

Benoit returned to Portland in December and is now deployed to Afghanistan.

By the Numbers

Lake County (Valley)
From Sept. 12 thru Oct. 15, nearly 250 firefighters, 10 fire crews, 15 fire engines and two helicopters battled the Valley Fire of 2015. In all, more than 76,000 acres of neighborhoods, woodland, and city blocks were engulfed in flames destroying 1,307 homes and 651 other structures in the central California counties of Lake, Napa and Sonoma. Four firefighters were injured battling the blaze, which is the third most costly in California history, and four civilians died.

Calaveras County (Butte)
From Sept. 9 thru Oct. 1, more than 300 firefighters battled the Butte Fire of 2015. In all, nearly 71,000 acres of rugged mountainous terrain was engulfed in flames destroying 475 homes and killing two in the central California County of Calaveras (which means “skulls” in Spanish!).

 

Fire Pics Dec 15 111
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires
Corps deployment during cleanup efforts of 2015 California Wildfires