Although the wildfires that swept Southern California in the last several days did not threaten Santa Monica, the city has contributed to the regional response to the devastation.
On Friday morning, November 14, the Santa Monica Fire Department sent two fire engines, each with a crew of four firefighters, to what has been called the Tea Fire in Montecito, near Santa Barbara. They were deployed to the Westmont College area, protecting structures and putting out hot spots. Later on Friday, the two engine companies were released to return home, but en route they were reassigned to the Freeway Fire in the Yorba Linda/Corona area, protecting structures in the Tonner Canyon neighborhood.
Friday afternoon, November 14, an additional engine and four firefighters responded to the Sylmar Fire and were later reassigned to the Freeway Fire in the La Palma and Weir Canyon areas. As of Wednesday afternoon, November 19, two engine companies had returned, and one was still on the scene.
SMFD Cpt. Scott Ziegert explained that when Santa Monica responds to fires outside the city as part of its cooperative arrangement with other Southern California departments, additional firefighters are called in on overtime so that all Santa Monica stations remain fully staffed.
Also rendering assistance through a cooperative arrangement with other Southern California chapters is the American Red Cross of Santa Monica. Director of Communications Bill Bauer said that 12 to 14 Santa Monica volunteers were working at shelters all over the Southern California area in a relief effort being coordinated by the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross.