As California Wildfires Rage, ASCE Members Rally to Help

As California continues to contend with the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history, Doug Taylor is rallying ASCE members to help.

Taylor, P.E., M.ASCE, the ASCE Region 9 disaster preparedness chair, has worked year-round to get more ASCE members in the state trained as Safety Assessment Evaluators.

“We’ve tried to get more and more people certified so they can respond when disasters like this happen,” Taylor said.

Taylor got the call from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Tuesday to assemble a team of 10 ASCE volunteers to do Safety Assessment Program field work in Northern California, where the Camp Fire is being blamed for more than 40 deaths and the destruction of more than 8,000 structures.

Taylor was able to quickly pull together a crew of ASCE members to respond.

“We’ll be going into areas in teams of two and three and tagging homes and businesses with a green tag, yellow tag, or red tag,” he said. “We determine whether they’re safe to occupy, whether they’re not adequate to occupy but maybe safe enough to go in and get possessions, or a red tag means you’re not allowed to occupy or go into this structure.”

It’s the work they’ve trained all year to be ready to perform.

Taylor recently retired from a career with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

What motivates him to keep doing this, even after retirement?

“Well, you have 8,800 people who just lost their homes,” Taylor said. “That’s enough.”

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  1. Where can I find out more information about getting trained as a Safety Assessment Evaluator for if/when future disasters occur? Thanks.

  2. I think the tagging process is the best. Along with these it is also necessary to give first aid. Because there is no compromise on safety.

  3. Hello,

    Not sure if this is at all the platform to reach out, but I thought I’d start here. I saw the article about a team of folks helping with the Car Fire. I wanted to reach out to see if I can be of assistance. I am a member of a search and resuce organization who has been going into Paradise to sift through wreckage to try to find people who died in the fire. I’ve seen the devastation on the ground and would be more than willing to help where I can. I am a licensed in PE in California and would love to help tag structures in this fire/disasters in the future if you need help.


  4. I am on the same SAR team as Andrew Oesterreicher (post above) and also am a California PE. I have been to Paradise 3 times to help search for remains with our Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team. I am willing to help review structures as well.


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