Deputy IC on Wolverine Fire describes the competition for firefighting resources nationally

Five new lightning-caused fires started Friday that surrounding Chelan, Washington, threatened homes in the city, then some of them joined forces and crossed the Columbia River. Our main article about the Chelan area fires is HERE (which is updated daily), but you may want to hear a portion of the back story of how wildfire organizations came up with a plan to deal with the quickly developing emergency during a time when the competition, nationally, for firefighters has become overwhelming.

In this video Rob Allen, the Deputy Incident Commander for the Wolverine Fire which is 30 air miles up Lake Chelan from the City by the same name, describes how his fire sent firefighting resources from their winding-down incident to assist with the initial attack of the five new fires near the city.

In the last one-third of the interview, Mr. Allen explains the nationwide shortage of firefighters and how the competition for resources is affecting firefighting in the Washington area and the rest of the West. As we reported earlier on Saturday, even though 554 20-person hand crews are currently working on wildfires in the western United States, there are outstanding orders for 160 more crews that are unable to be filled. Other important nationally-managed resources are already fully committed to ongoing fires and are completely unavailable for new fires, including transportable shower units and caterers that can set up in a remote area and begin feeding hundreds of hungry firefighters a few hours after they arrive in a dusty field near a fire.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.