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Gridley Herald

CAL FIRE Lends Helping Hand in Lahaina

May 21, 2024 08:48AM ● By Seti Long

The CAL FIRE team has been making a difference in the wake of a tragic fire in Lahaina. Photo courtesy of CAL FIRE


GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - After devastating fires struck Maui in August of 2023, some of CAL FIRE’S own responded to the call for aid.

Local CAL FIRE/Butte County/Gridley Fire Department Captain Dustin Mattos was one of two area firefighters whose CAL FIRE Incident Management team deployed to provide support services to the catastrophe. He was joined by Oroville Fire Departments Jordan Webber.

Captain Mattos told the Herald that there are 6 “All Risk” Incident Management Teams throughout the State of California with specialized team members ready to respond to any disaster. These CAL FIRE IC Teams can be deployed as part of a global response to natural and unnatural disasters.

Captain Mattos serves as a resource officer on Chief Chris Trindade’s 69-person IC team that deployed to Maui on August 17 for 21 days. 

Mattos said the scene at Lahaina was very reminiscent of the aftermath of the Paradise Camp Fire, and others like the Valley and Dixie Fires.

Upon arrival in Maui, the team’s job was to function in a support role for the Emergency Operation Center, using their experience from the California wildfires to aid in organizing the cleanup and rebuilding efforts. 

Mattos says that his IC Teams specialized skills were used to work with other law enforcement and first responders to help kick-start the rebuilding process. He reports that the friendships and bonds forged between his teammates and those at Lahaina are still strong.

Mattos believes the wide variety of calls an “All Risk” team responds to hones their abilities for future incidents.

“All these experiences our departments have, going out to these other places and all these other incidents (like Maui) just makes us better at our local incidents.” Referring to these experiences, Mattos says, “I have the background to improve this incident that is happening right here, right now.”

From Paradise to Maui, CAL FIRE’s experience is ultimately to our local benefit.

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