Central Coast law enforcement agencies assist with North Bay wildfires

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - UPDATE 10/13/2017 5:25 p.m.:

Agencies on the Central Coast are sending more resources to the North Bay as they deal with a number of wildfires in Napa and Sonoma Counties. We’ve seen countless fire departments send crews, and now we are seeing law enforcement agencies step up as well.

On Friday, members of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office’s Search and Rescue Team loaded up and headed to the North San Francisco Bay Area, where wildfires are ravaging the region.

They are joining countless other agencies from across the state to lend a hand.  

"There isn't an agency around here that can take it all themselves so this is what we call mutual aid,” said Cmdr. John Thornburg.

A team of 11 left on Wednesday. They’ve been helping the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office evacuate residents and search for people who have been reported missing. In that county alone, there are some 400 people considered missing.

Now word how long the teams will be out there but they are packed to be self-sustaining, carrying sleeping bags, clothing, safety gear and snacks.

"Whether it be in a rural area, like I believe this incident is, or being out in the Sierras for three days without having to come back out, we'll just have communications, satellite radio, satellite phones, our regular radios," said Deputy Jesse Villaseñor.

This new crop of search and rescue members will get their assignments once they check in with incident command. 

"We’re sort of in the aftermath,” Villaseñor said. “Whether it be finding people, sorting through stuff, helping people out get back to their place, clear it out so people can get back home or check whatever left of their homes."

Gilroy police has also sent out officers to help. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is providing 24-hour assistance between now through Sunday.


First responders on the Central Coast headed north to assist with the wildfires burning in Wine Country.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office sent 11 members of the Search and Rescue Team to help out in Sonoma County. The team left Wednesday morning and an additional 15 members arriving on Friday and Saturday.

"Our team has been busy assisting the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office evacuating the local residents, as well as searching for people who have been reported missing," said Monterey County Sheriff's. 

The Search and Rescue Team provided a police escort for a medical center to relocate all of their patients out of the fire zone. However the Sheriff's Office is only one of many law enforcement agencies sending help. Gilroy Police also sent officers earlier this week. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office will be sending 24-hour assistance through Sunday.

"Local residents are posting thank-you signs in their front yards and hanging American flags on their burnt homes. The American flags send the community a message of hope and a reminder of our unity and the resolve of the American spirit," said Monterey County Sheriff's. 

KION's Mariana Hicks has the story at 6 p.m.


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