Tom Story, who is in Washington documenting some of the wildfire activity, has been spending time with some of the 200 soldiers that were trained last week to assist on the fires. These are his photos, and below is his report.
Three crews from the freshly fire-trained Army Task Force First Round, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, made their first trip to the fireline August 24, 2015 when they traveled north of the Kaniksu Complex’s Tower Fire in eastern Washington to the 300-acre Onata Fire. The Incident Management Team welcomed the additional help and gave the soldiers two tasks for the day: put in some hand line and help plumb, or install fire hose, on the bottom edge of the fire along a road the team wanted to use to halt the fire’s spread.
Like most things in fire, the plans changed on the scene and the hand line assignment was cancelled and the crews were put to work putting in a 1,500 foot hose lay in preparation for a burnout. Not only did the crew haul and lay a bunch of hose, they tied in with the Forest Service’s McKenzie River Hand Crew who were doing chain saw work, prepping for the burnout, lending a hand with swamping the cut material.