Dozens of California state firefighters, Highway Patrol office and park rangers have lost homes in this month’s deadly Camp and Woolsey fires, according to public employee unions.
The Camp Fire in Butte County hit the state workforce especially hard because Cal Fire is the primary firefighting agency in that part of the state.
Forty-one Cal Fire firefighters lost homes to the fire, as well as two of the department’s administrative employees and eight retired firefighters.
Their union, Cal Fire Local 2881, is raising money to help through the CDF Firefighters Benevolent Foundation. Kevin O’Meara, the foundation’s president, posted a message on Facebook asking for contributions because this year’s fires have strained its finances.
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He tearfully says the nonprofit organization needs to rebuild its resources for “the next event.”
Twelve California Highway Patrol officers also have lost homes in the fire. The CHP has offices in Chico and in Oroville. CHP officers from Sacramento are delivering assistance to the displaced families.
“Our heart hurts for those families who’ve been affected by this. It’s beyond devastating,” said Carrie Lane, chief executive of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen. “Our people by and large are probably going to be OK. There’s a lot of individuals in that community; it’s going to be a lot tougher for them.”
Wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, park rangers and employees from the California Conservation Corps also have lost homes to the fire.