Sacramento, CA – On Monday, Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Bill Dodd hosted a Lake County Heroes Day Celebration in the State Senate, held in memory of the victims of the deadly Valley Fire, and honoring the state and local partners that came together when tragedy struck in Lake County just six months ago.
“When the devastating Valley Fire hit Lake County, federal, state and local partners – along with thousands of volunteers – rose to the occasion in the county’s toughest hours,” Senator McGuire said. “We had the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the incredible work and partnerships that started on day one with the initial fire response and have continued through the massive recovery efforts.”
The ceremony, kicked off by CalFire Honor GuardLocal 2881 presenting the colors in the Senate Chambers, recognized the state agencies and their employees who have been dedicated to the response, recovery and now rebuilding process in Lake County, including special introductions of Mark Ghilarducci, Director of California Office of Emergency Services; Joseph Farrow, Commander of the California Highway Patrol; Ken Pimlott, Director of Cal Fire; Scott Smithline, Director of CalRecycle; and Malcolm Dougherty, Director of Caltrans.
“From the thousands of CalFire firefighters pouring into Lake County to fight the blazes, to the amazing coordination of resource management by the Office of Emergency Services, to the massive debris removal effort from CalRecycle, and to CHP and Caltrans who went above and beyond during and after the unprecedented fires, we can’t thank you all enough,” Senator McGuire said. “We know that there is a long way to go, but we wanted to thank the state and local agencies who have been the driving force in the response, recovery and rebuilding efforts in Lake County.”
In total, the deadly Valley Fire scorched 76,000 acres, caused $1.2 billion in damage, destroyed 1,330 homes and nearly 1,900 businesses and agricultural buildings were lost, 20,000 people were evacuated in a matter of hours, and the fire cost five Lake County residents their lives.
During the ceremony, Senator McGuire also presented a second recognition to two organizations who stepped up to help recover and rebuild: The Redwood Credit Union and the Press Democrat, who in partnership with Senator McGuire founded the Lake County Fire Victims Relief Fund. In just a matter of weeks, the Fund raised an astounding $2.5 million from over 12,000 donors. One hundred percent of the donations are going to the victims of the Lake County fires.
“The contributions that the Fund has made to the survivors of this tragedy reflect charitable giving devoted to the highest ideals of community service,” Senator McGuire said. Steve Falk, CEO of The Press Democrat and Brett Martinez, President and CEO of Redwood Credit Union accepted the Senate recognition.
In attendance during the Lake County Heroes Day celebration from Lake County were Supervisors Jim Comstock and Jim Steele, County Superintendent of Schools Brock Falkenberg, Sheriff Brian Martin, CHP Lt. Hector Paredes and South Lake County Fire Protection District Board Chair Jim Comisky.
(Senator McGuire and fellow State Senators, with Assemblymember Bill Dodd, recognized the state agencies who worked together during the Valley Fire response and recovery, including CalFire, CalRecycle, CHP, CalTrans and the California Office of Emergency Services.)