Could ‘community brigades’ be a new model for fighting wildfires?

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Malibu West Fire Brigade members learn how to use a pump and get advice from Keegan Gibbs, the leader of the Point Dume Brigade (pictured second from right), and Bobby Milstein (far right), owner of SoCal Fire Supply. Photo by Adriana Cargill.

A couple of dozen Malibu neighbors have been developing “community brigades” since the 2018 Woolsey Fire. The brigades are meant to fill in the resource gap when firefighters are stretched too thin. This model relies on training volunteers and coordinating with local agencies. It requires a lot less training and a smaller time commitment, and offers more roles than other volunteer firefighting programs. It also takes an “all hazards” approach that can be used in any natural disaster.

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