DNR Fire Crews Home, But Ready To Go Back

DEER PARK — Firefighters across the Inland Northwest are in standby mode, as the threat of lightning coupled with dry conditions have many in on their day off just waiting for a call.

As they wait for the call, they’re preparing.

“The crews are starting to show some fatigue,” says Andrew Stenbeck, Northeast District Manager for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. “The big concern is that we’re able to get folks rested and days off and we just can’t do it in these conditions.”

Thanks to dry fire fuels, and the real threat of lightning, firefighters are working overtime

“We brought our crews in on their day off,” Stenbeck says.

Every single available firefighter is on high alert until the threat subsides, and engines are staging across the region…

“They are geographically spaced out, so any response time to any one location we could get eyes on a fire in the shortest amount of time,” says Stenbeck.

As firefighters prepare to take care of the public, they’re sacrificing rest. Many of those firefighters have just returned from the Green Lake Fire near Omak.

“They’re tired. This heat has been unusual for the summer, so we’re having to make some adjustments,” Stenbeck says. We’re having some heat stress show up yesterday. We’ve had a pretty active fire season.”

And it’s nowhere close to over. Fire season usually starts in the region at the end of July and goes into September. DNR says they expect to return to normal crew levels by Sunday evening, when the lightning threat calms down.