A Garden Grove fire captain Saturday said city firefighters have been sent to Northern California to help battle 18 separate wildfires plaguing areas left dry due to drought conditions.
One Garden Grove engine company has been sent to Eureka for the Six Rivers Lighting Fire and another to the Rocky Fire in Lake County, where 22,500 acres have been burned with only 5 percent containment, said Garden Grove Fire Capt. Thanh Nguyen.
“Additional firefighters have been called in to ensure that service remains consistent for the city of Garden Grove,” Nguyen said.
One firefighter has been killed. David Ruhl of Rapid City, South Dakota, went missing Thursday while battling a wildfire in the Modoc National Forest about 100 miles south of Oregon. That fire has burned at least 800 acres.
Ruhl, a U.S. Forest Service firefighter, was driving down a road in a vehicle by himself, scouting the area when the then-small fire suddenly expanded, U.S. Forest Information Officer Ken Sandusky said.
Crews fighting the blaze lost communication with him Thursday evening. His body was recovered on Friday, according to Sandusky.
The news of Ruhl’s death came just hours after Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency requiring all state agencies to provide assistance if needed to respond to the fires. Brown also mobilized the California National Guard to help with disaster response.
“California’s severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox,” Brown said. “Our firefighters are on the front lines and we’ll do everything we can to help them.”