Last modified on Oct 14, 2016

Fire Terminology

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California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A CAL FIRE crew strike team consists of a strike team leader, and two fire crews. All CAL FIRE fire crews are Type I crews. These crews are highly trained wildland firefighters and are fully equipped to respond to wildland fires anywhere in the state with minimal support. Each fire crew carries enough supplies and food to last for about two days. The only additional support that would be needed is drinking water and fuel for chainsaws. The minimum staffing for a Type I crew strike team is 30 firefighters.

CAL FIRE maintains 196 fire crews, housed in 39 Conservation Camps throughout the state. A CAL FIRE fire crew consists of a fire captain and 15 to 17 firefighters. The firefighters that make up these crews are minimum-security inmates and wards from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). These fire crews are directly supervised by a CAL FIRE fire captain. CAL FIRE fire crews are the infantry of the Department’s firefighting “ground attack” resources. Their primary function is to construct fire line by hand in areas where heavy machinery cannot be used because of steep topography, rocky terrain, or areas that may be considered environmentally sensitive.


California Environmental Quality Act.

Space cleared of vegetation as required by law, regulation, easement, etc., for the purpose of preventing fires.

Application of specific codes based on statutory mandated conducted through inspection.

A fire is contained when it is surrounded on all sides by some kind of boundary but is still burning and has the potential to jump a boundary line. The boundary may be a “fire line” which is a strip of area where the vegetation has been removed to deny the fire fuel, or a river, a freeway or some other barrier which is expected to stop the fire. Hose lines from fire engines may also contribute to a fire being surrounded and contained. A fire is controlled when there is no further threat of it jumping a containment line. While crews continue to do mop-up work within the fire lines, the fire fight is over.

In California, the six counties that provide fire-prevention services in state responsibility areas under contract with the state. These counties are Marin, Kern, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange.

Contract Counties (CAL FIRE Pays Local Government for Services) Section 4133 of the Public Resources Code and Section 55607 of the Government Code permit the CAL FIRE Director to contract with counties for protection of State Responsibility Area (SRA). The counties of Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura have assumed this responsibility.

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