No Break for Redding Firefighters Now Battling Mendocino Complex

2 min
Redding Fire trucks at the incident command center for the Mendocino Complex in Ukiah. (Sonja Hutson/KQED)

Last month, the massive Carr Fire ripped through parts of the city of Redding, destroying more than 1,000 homes in the process. It’s still burning in some remote areas, but all evacuation orders for nearby communities have been lifted.

Now, firefighters from the Redding Fire Department have been deployed to a different wildfire: the Mendocino Complex. It’s about a three hour drive southwest of Redding.

“Basically the engines that we’re with [are] on a task force to lay hose on a dozer line to assist with firing operations,” said Kody Hansen, one of the Redding firefighters assigned to the Mendocino Complex.

In non-firefighter lingo, that means spraying water on a line that a bulldozer has cleared of vegetation, which is fuel for the fire.

Hansen and his crew have been assigned to the Mendocino Complex for days now. He says he likes helping out other communities, but fighting the Carr Fire earlier this summer as it burned into Redding was much more personal for his team.


“We had several members from the Redding Fire Department that were either evacuated or did lose their homes,” Hansen said. “A lot of them came off vacation to come into work knowing that their home was most likely going to burn down.”

And Hansen says there’s a part of him that wishes he was back in Redding now.

“It’s definitely difficult,” he said. “I think all of us want to do everything that we can to help out our community. Any way that we can, whether they lost their homes or were evacuated or have family members that lost their homes.”

But Hansen knows there are other communities out there that need help as well and because of the state’s mutual aid system, moving from fire to fire is just part of the job.