SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) was deployed to assist with the Colby Fire in Glendora on January 16 at 7:55 a.m. The deployment was part of a mutual aid request when three men in their early 20s started an illegal campfire that blew out of control along the Colby Truck Trail in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The campfire became an active wildfire in the Angeles National Forest, destroying five homes, injuring one person and causing 3,600 people to evacuate. As of today, the wildfire is 95 percent contained.

Two SMFD Engine Companies were dispatched from Beverly Hills and Culver City as a strike team, arriving at a staging location near the fire at around 10:00 a.m. Their first assignment was to assist the Azusa Structure Protection Group (part of the Glendora branch) with the southwest portion of the fire.

With the change of conditions, the strike team provided structure protection for the homes, water facility, a historical farmhouse and avocado orchards in the areas around Ridgeview Drive and Ranch Road.  “Our strike team consists of five vehicles interspersed throughout the neighborhood,” said Deputy Chief Tom Clemo to Canyon News. “Their assignment is to protect the various structures in the area and prevent the fire from reaching them.”

The team worked for about 27 hours straight on the fire line, finished their assignment and returned to the city on January 17 at around 2:00 p.m. While the strike team was working at the site of the fire, emergency services to the city of Santa Monica were not interrupted as backup crew members were called in to fill in the roles vacated by the strike team.