If there is a silver lining to the Camp Fire — the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history — it’s that it saw communities leap into action to assist those in need.
On Tuesday night, the Sacramento City Council honored the more 150 City of Sacramento employees who deployed Paradise, Calif., to help those affected by the fire, which claimed at least 85 lives and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes in Butte County.
Employees from the Sacramento Fire Department, Police Department, and those involved with the City’s animal division and volunteer program, all worked long hours and gave tremendous effort in service of their northern neighbors, officials said.
“In the season of giving, we wanted to start out tonight’s meeting by thanking those who give every day in every way, and who have gone beyond that proverbial call of duty to help people in the worst circumstances possible,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.
Nearly 30 fire personnel traveled to Paradise, deploying for as long as 14 days. Most performed suppression duties and worked 24-hour shifts. Many also participated in search-and-rescue missions. Sac Fire also helped staff several other important positions including peer support counselors, a public information officer and facilities manager.
More than 130 Sacramento Police Department employees (officers, dispatchers, sergeants and lieutenants) responded to the request for help in Butte County. Officers patrolled scorched neighborhoods, prevented looting and controlled traffic. Dispatchers handled phone and radio calls and performed other essential duties at the command post. In addition, Sac PD donated water, food, toiletries, clothes and more than $4000 in cash/gift cards to first responders affected by the fire.
Mary Lynn Perry, Volunteer Engagement Specialist with the City’s Department of Human Resources, provided assistance to Caring Choices, the emergency volunteer center for the Camp Fire. She helped the center recruit 6,000 volunteers in less than two weeks to support medical needs, evacuation centers, animal shelters and donation hubs.
The City’s animal division deployed staffers to help with pets burned and displaced by the Camp Fire. “I mean, how important are peoples’ pets in times like these, when they are able to hold onto something?” Steinberg said.