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    Multiple agencies work to contain JBLM wildfire

    Multiple agencies work to contain JBLM wildfire

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin | A Washington National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter drops 2,000 gallons of water on a...... read more read more

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, UNITED STATES

    08.11.2014

    Story by Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin 

    19th Public Affairs Detachment

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Civilian and military agencies continued working in concert Monday to contain a 350-acre wildfire burning in a range impact area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

    Dry conditions and high winds contributed to the spread of the fire, which began Sunday and is currently 90 percent contained. South Pierce Fire and Rescue supplemented Forestry Services and JBLM firefighter crews with personnel and water resupply on Sunday, while Washington National Guard CH-47 helicopters conducted water drops on fire-vulnerable areas on Monday.

    According to the JBLM branch of Forestry Services, the water drops are instrumental in preserving an area of old growth forest near the blaze.

    “They can get a lot of water on a spot, in a short amount of time, in areas we can’t get to,” said Dan Leeper, installation wildland fire program manager. Each drop contains approximately 2,000 gallons of water. “There is unexploded ordnance in the area, and so we can’t put personnel on the ground. And if, for instance, the fire is burning in the timber, they can get a lot of water on it and knock it back down, because we don’t put personnel in front of fires 3-feet or higher.”

    Leeper said wildfires are routine in the installation range areas during the driest months of the year, July-September, and that historically his crew responds to 150 dispatches per fire season. Additional crew are hired to supplement the agency, which cooperates with the Washington Department of Natural Resources and local firefighting agencies.

    The mutual aid agreements and the relationships which have formed between JBLM and local firefighting agencies is something James Elways, JBLM deputy fire chief, is proud to highlight.

    “We help them, they help us. It’s about pooling resources and being smarter in the application of resources – it makes sense for us to help each other out,” said Elways.

    He explained that in addition to responding to calls for aid in local fires or requesting aid for fires on the installation, the cooperation also entailed joint training opportunities to enhance the quality of firefighters across the board.

    “We’re really proud of firefighters. They’re highly trained and experienced. Firefighters, by nature, want to help people, and if we can be of assistance to our local communities, that brings us a lot of job satisfaction,” said Elways.

    The current fire will not be 100 percent contained until the onset of the rainy season and residents should expect to see some residual smoke from this fire or other fires.

    “Because we have an active prescribed burn program on the installation, to keep the brush reduced, which keeps the fire intensities at a lower level, it is best to contact the installation public affairs office [or the JBLM fire department], if you have concerns about smoke,” said Leeper.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.11.2014
    Date Posted: 08.15.2014 13:34
    Story ID: 139465
    Location: JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, US 

    Web Views: 119
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN