Vina Helitack on track for June completion
VINA — Construction of the new Vina Helitack on State Route 99E is on track for a June opening despite harsh weather that’s moved through the county since December.

“Things are really rolling along,” said Civil Engineer Doug Barber. “Weather’s been a little bit of a problem but we got a lot done before the rains really hit.”

Barber said the crews working on the base are hoping to have the project completed ahead of schedule with Cal Fire looking at an estimated finalization of June 11, pending weather.

The base is slated to be a response site for fires, medical calls and other emergencies and will cover ground roughly between the Mendocino National Forrest, Chester, the Shasta County line and just south of Oroville in Butte County, said Division Chief Randy Fregoso.

Built in the 1950s, the original structure began life as a fire station before becoming a helicopter base in 1974. The primary reason for the overhaul was age.

“Basically, the old base was outdated and we were running out of size for the staffing level,” Fregoso said.

Fregoso said the state is switching to Black Hawk helicopters, which require more space and additional staffing to operate.

The demolition of the previous building and construction of the new one was announced in April 2018 when the construction bid came at a cost of $10.5 million toward the total project cost of $15.26 million, all of which is state-funded.

Cal Fire plans to hold an open house once construction of the base is finished. A date will be set for the event as the building’s progress moves closer to completion.

What First Responders Don’t Know About Fiery Electric Vehicles
After an out-of-control Tesla Model S plowed into a stand of palm trees on a highway median outside Fort Lauderdale last month, police rushed to put out the ensuing blaze using a department-issued fire extinguisher. It was a wasted effort. The car kept on burning after the crash, which killed the driver.
The police may not have known lithium-ion batteries inside electric vehicles, once ignited, can’t be put out with chemicals from a conventional extinguisher. The battery fires are susceptible to a self-destructive chain reaction known as thermal runaway, causing a feedback loop of rising temperatures. The Tesla fire stumped a series of first responders in Florida. Firefighters eventually doused the flames with water, which seemed to work, but the wrecked car reignited twice more after being towed away. That prompted what a police report later termed “extraordinary measures,” including a call to Broward County’s hazmat unit for advice on stamping out the fire once and for all.

The accident illustrates the challenges faced by first responders unfamiliar with the special characteristics—and hazards—of electric vehicles’ powertrains. Safety experts say the only way to extinguish a lithium-ion battery inside a car is with thousands of gallons of water, much more than what it takes to stop a fire in a typical gasoline engine. The other option is to just let it burn itself out. “It’s such a difficult fire because it takes so much water to put out,” said Robert Taylor, fire marshal in Davie, Fla., where the crash occurred.

The new normal? Washington state has already logged an unusual number of wildfires in 2019
Summer is still months away , but many folks in Washington enjoyed a glimpse of it with  record-high temperatures  last week as we headed into the official start of spring. Sadly, Thursday also marked the beginning of  another season for the state wildfire season .

Areas in Washington state are already dealing with an unusually high number of wildfires: 50 total, with 49 on the west side of the state, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The Washington state DNR meteorologist says that weather and environmental conditions helped make the early start to the season possible.

"This event stands out not because of the phenomenon but the timing," Washington State DNR meteorologist Josh Clark  said in a blog post .
"Generally, this pattern occurs during our peak fire season in late August through early October...These conditions, combined with abundant dead or dormant grasses and shrubs, allowed for a 'perfect storm' of weather and fuels conditions to bring about considerable fire activity over the past few days."

Washington wildfires have already created some huge burns, including an 85-acre fire near Kelso, an 85-acre fire in Wahkiakum County, and 100-acre fire near Mossyrock. Many of those areas — despite heavy snowfall earlier in the year — haven't had enough rain to prevent dry conditions.

And although more moisture is expected for the coming days, DNR believes that the state is headed for plenty of warm and dry conditions heading into the summer.

It's hard to believe it  was just snowing a month  ago, huh?

Nearly 20 years after the original became a classic, the sequel to Backdraft is finally happening
If you have an iPhone, you've probably asked Siri a question or two.

But, have you tried asking Siri why fire trucks are red? Go ahead. I'll wait while you do.

Or if you're one of those Android users, well you're just out of luck.

Just kidding. Google it — you'll thank me later for the laugh.

On a more serious note, there are many theories   about why fire trucks are red. But, of course, some departments don't follow the norm. There are yellow, blue, purple, pink and even black fire trucks running calls all around the country.


Here's a  history lesson  for you.

Some believe fire trucks were first painted red because of early cars.
In the 1900s, Henry Ford suggested the color black for his Model T Ford's due to the cheap cost and durability of the paint.

With so many black vehicles, it is said that fire brigades wanted the rigs to stand out. Another theory suggests that fire departments wanted their trucks to feature the most expensive color — which was red at the time.
However, scientifically, certain colors can cause havoc with a person's vision.

Have you signed up for IAFF SMART?

If you have trouble registering, contact Danielle Kelsch

The CalPERS Health Account Management Division is sending an informational letter to approximately 120 retired members between age 64 and 64½ identified as being in a CalPERS Basic health plan when they, or dependents, are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The intent of this letter is to notify members of their eligibility to enroll in a CalPERS Medicare health plan. CalPERS Medicare health plans have similar coverage and typically lower monthly premiums compared to CalPERS Basic plans. Copies of letters will be uploaded to impacted member’s accounts.
They will also be sending an informational letter to approximately 1500 active members where the member or dependent is under age 64.5, is enrolled in a CalPERS Basic health plan when they, or dependents, are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The intent of this letter is to notify members of their eligibility to enroll in a CalPERS Medicare health plan. CalPERS Medicare health plans have similar coverage and typically lower monthly premiums compared to CalPERS Basic plans. Copies of letters will be uploaded to impacted member’s accounts.
On duty for Easter Sunday? Check out this recipe to make the BEST HAM EVER!
Baked ham is an impressive main dish for pretty much any holiday feast— Christmas Easter , even  Thanksgiving . It may look intimidating (mainly due its massive size), but it's actually insanely easy to make. First and foremost,  because it's already cooked ! All what you're doing is doctoring it to make it better.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

The Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is a benefit to ensure your value of money at retirement keeps up with the rate of inflation. Typically, this benefit begins the second calendar year of retirement, although the annual rate of inflation and retirement law could affect the onset of your COLA. Under existing retirement law, retirees receive an annual COLA paid in the May 1 warrant each year.

COLA is dependent on three factors: Click here to read more
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CAL FIRE Local 2881 likes to stay connected with our membership. We want to make sure every member has an updated mailing address.

Below is a list of both Active and Retired members that have bad addresses as of February 28th. If your name is on the list or you have recently moved, please contact Danielle at (916) 277-9885 or  dkelsch@L2881.org  to update your address.