Poor communication, short staffing and infighting among agencies may have endangered firefighters who nearly died during the massive Mendocino Complex of wildfires in Northern California, according to a new report released.
The Los Angeles Times reported that staff from three fire agencies examined an Aug. 19 incident where Los Angeles and state firefighters were trying to keep the three-week-old blaze from charging through wilderness and reaching homes.
Some were concerned that there was no clear plan for building the line and the majority didn’t believe they knew what they were supposed to do, the report said.
A wind shift caused flames to surround the firefighters, who had to scramble through the forest to safety through embers and ash as terrified deer darted past them.
The strike team leader thought: “This is how it ends. We are going to be vaporized,” the Times reported.
They finally reached a road and were rescued by other firefighters. Five firefighters were treated for burns and one had a dislocated shoulder.