As fires ravage the state — with one of the largest burning in parts of Stanislaus County — Congressman Josh Harder’s office has launched an initiative to collect much-needed supplies for the firefighters working to contain them.
Since the lightning siege that began on Aug. 15, nearly 14,000 lightning strikes started over 700 new wildfires in Northern California which have now burned 1.38 million acres, destroyed 2,100 structures and killed seven people.
As of Friday, the SCU Lightning Complex fire burning in the mountain range between Patterson and San Jose had consumed nearly 373,000 acres with just 35 percent containment. It has been active for nine days and is spread across five counties: Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Merced.
Harder’s “Support Our Heroes” supplies drive will collect and distribute items to support firefighters as they work to contain the canyon portion of the SCU Lightning Complex fire. The initiative will collect supplies including: new socks, Gatorade and bottled water, Advil/Tylenol, packaged snacks, Chapstick, thank you cards/drawings, gum, multivitamins and baskets to place care packages in.
“Hundreds of firefighters are putting their lives on the line every day and night to control these fires — they’re doing their job and now it’s our turn,” said Harder. “I encourage everyone who has some extra supplies to donate what you can to show how much we support our heroes.”
Turlock firefighters have been hard at work since the different blazes began, but have not been deployed to the SCU Lightning Complex Fire. Turlock Fire Department sent OES Engine 339 to the Jones Fire near Nevada City on Aug. 17 and they were released from duty there on Aug. 20. From the Jones Fire, OES E339 responded with four personnel and a Strike Team Leader to the LNU Lightning Complex Fire burning in Napa and Sonoma counties, where they continue to provide aid.
In addition, a Captain is deployed as a Medical Unit Leader at the North Complex Fire, a Captain is deployed as a Public Information Officer to the Lake Fire and a Captain is deployed as a Heavy Equipment Boss on the BTU Lightning Complex.
Despite providing firefighting resources to communities throughout the state, TFD assured the city that all Turlock fire stations remain staffed with an engine ready to help at home as well.
Community members who would like to participate in the “Support Our Heroes” drive can deliver supplies to 1120 6th St. in Modesto or contact Harder’s office at 209-214-8089 for more information. Dropoff boxes will also be available outside to reduce contact.
The Congressman’s Central Valley PPE Initiative continues as well, which has so far delivered 60,000 surgical masks, 12,000 face shields, over 2,500 fabric masks and over 650 N95s in addition to several hundred gloves, shoe and head covers and gowns.