Dramatic video shows rescue of 4 California crew members fighting wildfire

Editor’s Note: California state fire chief Thom Porter tells Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” how the wildfires in his state have become more destructive since he started in 1999. Read more here. 


Butte County, California — Dramatic video released by the California Highway Patrol showed a rescue of four injured U.S. National Guard members from inside the firelines in Butte County this weekend, CBS Sacramento reports. The four had been assisting in battling the Bear Fire when they suddenly couldn’t get out on their own. 

A camera captured the view from a California Highway Patrol helicopter over the smoky wilderness in and around the blaze.

Flight Officer Matt Calcutt was the paramedic on board for the rescue.

“The complexity of this particular rescue is that it was in steep rugged terrain, and it’s also in the fireline,” Calcutt said. “So there’s all sorts of consideration we have to take in during the call.”

There are more than 600 National Guard members assigned to California wildfires, working under the supervision of Cal Fire. This crew was carrying hand tools and cutting fire breaks in a remote area when they got injured and stuck.

“I can’t even begin to describe the conditions that they’re working in. It’s so extreme,” Calcutt said.

  • California wildfires reach devastating milestone, scorching more than 4 million acres

The wildfire doesn’t just pose danger for people living along the firelines. For these Nation Guard members, the only way out was up.

The four were treated for injuries to their legs and heat exhaustion. They’ve all been released from the hospital.

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