CNMI sends 18 to aid in battle against California wildfires

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A total of 18 individuals, consisting of both Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services firefighters and civilians, left early yesterday morning to make the journey to the West Coast to join the California Department of Forestry to battle the ongoing California wildland fires. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The CNMI Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services saw off a total of 18 individuals early yesterday morning as they make the journey to the West Coast to join the California Department of Forestry in its battle against the ongoing California wildland fires.

According to DFEMS Commissioner Dennis Mendiola, of the 18 individuals who were deployed to help the California Forestry team, nine were firefighters and nine were civilians.

“On Wednesday, the Department of Fire and EMS deployed the CNMI Wildland Strike Team to California that consists of nine firefighters and nine certified wildland civilians to assist in the Wildland Fire Suppression operations and efforts due to the unprecedented fire season,” Mendiola said.

The nine DFEMS firefighters include Ralphael L. Magofna, Linus L. Mizutani Jr., Sixtus L. Aquino, Saturno Kaipat, Justin Paul Mizutani, Christino George, Joseph Lifoifoi Jr., Stanley Zacrie Santos Jr., and Roman John P. Camacho.

The nine civilians include Vincent Agulto, Devin De Leon Guerrero, Ryan Garde, Joseph Guerrero, Sammy Litulumar, Henry Aguon, Frederick Henry Lisua Litulumar, and Adolfo Roppu.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, this year’s strike team was the fourth group that the CNMI has sent to the U.S. mainland since 2014 under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Services Cooperative program to help put out the fires along the steep mountain terrains of Northern California.

Last year’s group consisted of 16 DFEMS firefighters and civilians who aided in the battle against the August Complex, a large wildfire that torched the coast range of Northern California, in Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama, and Trinity counties. The complex started as 38 separate fires that came together. The fire was started by lightning strike on Aug. 16, 2020.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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