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News | Oct. 18, 2017

San Joaquin provides critical support to firefighters during devastating wildfire season

By Annette Silva DLA Distribution Public Affairs

The year’s wildfire season is one of the worst in United States history. As of Oct. 13, nearly 8.6 million acres have burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 

The Northern California Bay Area is being devastated by the wildfires. Neighborhoods are charred to the ground and the fires have taken 40 lives, with fires spreading throughout several counties, specifically in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, Nevada, Butte, Calaveras, Shasta, and Yuba counties, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. In Northern California alone, there are 13 wildfires consuming over 221,000 acres of land.  Major Disaster Declarations have increased from 7 to 11 counties and over 5,500 structures have been destroyed.

Along with the nearly 13,000 firefighters battling the blazes, the men and women of the DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California Fire Mission are doing their part by supplying critical items. Some of the items San Joaquin is currently providing consist of safety cans, fire shelters, first aid kits and fire hose fittings.

Joseph Sousa, Bulk Division Chief holds his fire mission team in high regards. “We [the fire mission team] support firefighters with the same level of service as our other customers, the warfighters. They [the firefighters] also put their lives in jeopardy, protecting people, lands and entities across the U.S. The San Joaquin Fire Mission team realizes what’s at stake and unequivocally supports the firefighters as a critical interagency partner,” he commented.

San Joaquin acquired the critical fire mission from the United States General Services Administration back in May 2014 when their west coast distribution center closed its doors. The mission transferred approximately 450 national stock numbers to San Joaquin. Some of the critical items that San Joaquin ships range from hand tools, fire hoses and gaskets, water handling accessories, pumps, personal protection equipment and meals-ready-to eat.

The fire mission supports the 11 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Large Fire Support National Interagency Support Caches located in strategic areas throughout the Continental United States and Alaska. According to the USDA, these caches work together to provide the supplies and equipment for wildland fire and other all-hazard incidents.  In addition to these eleven, San Joaquin also provides material to six other smaller fire caches throughout the United States.

The men and women of the fire mission understand the criticality of this material they pack and ship to the fire caches on a daily basis and they take pride in their work. Numerous employees from San Joaquin support this mission from receiving, warehousing, inventory, transportation and shipping. This critical material is prepared and shipped 24 hours per day when needed.