California Today: From L.A. to Florida, With Rescue Boats in Tow

Photo
Members of California Task Force 1 listened to a briefing on what to expect from Hurricane Irma in Orlando on Saturday. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Good morning.

(Want to get California Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

They responded after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Harvey.

Now, just days after their deployment to the floods of southeast Texas, the Los Angeles search-and-rescue team known as California Task Force 1 is preparing to do it again in Florida.

Early Monday, Hurricane Irma was crawling up Florida’s west coast, including St. Petersburg and Tampa, after thrashing parts of the Caribbean and the Florida Keys.

“We’re just kind of preparing for battle right now,” said Carlos Calvillo, an assistant fire chief with California Task Force 1, which has about 70 members.

California maintains eight urban search-and-rescue teams as part of a federal disaster response system. They are self-contained units — traveling in truck convoys with food, fuel and rescue supplies, including boats.

Continue reading the main story

When not deployed, most of the members work in neighborhood fire stations across the state.

Even as an intense wildfire season has strained California’s firefighting forces, all of the teams were tapped to help out in Texas.

Four of those — from San Diego, Los Angeles, Menlo Park and Oakland — were subsequently deployed to Florida, said Brad Alexander, spokesman for the California Office of Emergency Services.

California Task Force 1 was on the road home from Houston, where they logged more than 50 rescues, when they got the call to turn around, said Mr. Calvillo.

Four days and more than 1,700 miles later, on Saturday, they were at a staging area in Orlando.

The task force’s members spent the weekend gearing up for what could be a vast rescue effort. At one point, they passed around pictures of the devastation Hurricane Andrew left Florida with 25 years ago.

They wanted to get a sense of what, exactly, could happen in the state.

The team has been touched by the many of the encounters they’ve had since leaving home, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Cars pulled out of line at gas stations to let them fuel up first. On the road, they were given free meals from well-wishers, including a fire station in Midland, Tex., and a local contractor in Addison, Tex.

“It was just really neat to see what people did — little things,” said Mr. Humphrey. “And little things just mean so much.”

Sam Hodgson, a photographer for The New York Times, has been embedded with the team in Orlando.

A few of his photos from over the weekend:

Photo
Members of California Task Force 1 worked late on Saturday preparing for the approaching storm. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
Photo
Team members went over logistics. They were sent to Orlando immediately after their deployment to Houston. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
Photo
California Task Force 1 members organized palettes of supplies at a convention center in Orlando on Sunday. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Alan Blinder contributed reporting from Orlando.

{{= c_phrase }}

{{= temp }}°{{= temp_unit }} {{= c_high }}° {{= c_low }}°

California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

• California is moving to reschedule its presidential primary date from June to March. It has the potential to upend the 2020 nominating contest. [Politico]

• Lawmakers are pushing a plan that requires California to get all of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. Is that even possible? [KQED]

Photo
An aerial view of a marijuana farm in Mendocino County. Environmental damage and crime associated with illegal cannabis businesses remain firmly entrenched in the area. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

• The black market for marijuana in California is thriving as growers shun the legalized system that comes into effect in January. [The New York Times]

• A magnitude 8.2 earthquake killed dozens of people in Mexico. If a quake of similar power hit Southern California — and it could — it would be catastrophic. [Los Angeles Times]

• A backlash grew after a video circulated online that appeared to show a University of California police officer in Berkeley ticketing a hot dog vendor then taking money from his wallet. [Berkeleyside]

Photo
Jake Paul has more than 10 million subscribers on YouTube. Credit Jake Michaels for The New York Times

Jake Paul, the 20-year-old YouTube megastar, is mining a summer of controversy to build a social media empire. [The New York Times]

• Women at Google make less than men, according to an employee-compiled spreadsheet. Google begs to differ. [The New York Times]

• After weather events plunged Big Sur into months of isolation, the coastal hideaway is doing big business again. [Bloomberg]

Photo
Credit John Francis Peters for The New York Times

• Photos: San Diego is credited as one of the birthplaces of skateboarding. Our photographer documented how the sport lives on there today. [The New York Times]

• Los Angeles doughnut shops — a guide to 29 of the best. [Los Angeles Times]

Coming Up This Week

• Apple is unveiling a premium iPhone that starts at about $1,000 at an event in Cupertino on Tuesday.

• Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer, is scheduled to speak at U.C. Berkeley on Thursday. The lead-up to the event has been shadowed by security concerns.

• The three-day Monterey Jazz Festival kicks off Friday. Among the performers: Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau and Angelique Kidjo.

• The Emmy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday. “Saturday Night Live” and “Westworld” lead the nominations.

And Finally …

Continue reading the main story Link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *