As the Rim Fire continues to smolder — it’s 84 percent contained — after burning for more than five weeks in Stanislaus National Forest, fire crews from Madera County who have returned from it are reflecting on their efforts.
“I think having a fire this big that’s a couple of counties away was an eye-opener for our community,” said Madera County volunteer/Paid Call Firefighter Anthony LaNotte. “Residents in the Valley don’t see a lot of this, but because of our droughts that we’re having, California is going to be experiencing more fires like this. The community needs to be very supportive of firefighters, military, and law enforcement that assist with evacuations. This is dangerous business. People lose their lives doing this.”
LaNotte, a 27-year-old Bonadelle resident, joined a 16-member strike team that drove to the Rim Fire on Aug. 20 with five engines and a battalion chief.
The team, made up of Cal Fire and Madera County personnel including Paid Call Firefighters from Cedar Valley, Oakhurst, Raymond, Bonadelle, Chowchilla, and Madera, worked 24-hour shifts followed by 24 hours off duty for two weeks before returning home...