Washington, Oregon put out call for aid in wildfires


The wildfire season is busy enough this summer that in both Washington and Oregon, many communities need help to fight the fires.

For the first time in state history, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is asking for volunteers to fight wildfires. The state needs volunteers to coordinate at centers in Omak, in north-central Washington, and Colville, in Northeast Washington.

If they can’t show up in person, volunteers should not call DNR – the state has already been deluged with responses. They should first fill out this online survey providing the state with their information.

Every volunteer should also have wildland firefighting qualifications, which means “an Incident Qualification Card (commonly called a Red Card), a “Blue Card,” or a letter of certification from a local or rural firefighting agency stating that you have met appropriate physical fitness, experience and training standards for serving on wildfire incidents.”

Volunteers can also go directly to the coordination centers in Omak and Colville. More information about the centers can be found here.

Down in Oregon, the Oregon Forest Industries Council (OFIC) and Associated Oregon Loggers (AOL) have put out a call for “(forest) landowners and (forest) operators who have trained personnel and equipment, capable of assisting in suppression actions” against the wildfires. If the landowners or operators are able, they should make their availability known to their local Oregon Department of Forestry or local Forest Protective Association office.

Below are more specifics what’s needed in the field.

Here is a list of needs from the (Oregon Department of Forestry) operations section:

Overhead – Personnel: Industrial foresters or operators (& retirees) are often “Industry Qualified” as Equipment Boss, Falling Boss, Engine Boss, Filed Observers, Single Resource Boss (SRB), Dozer Boss and Hand Crews (some silvicultural crews are fire trained).  For your own lands – “liaisons” to connect with the fire management teams are most always in use.

Traditional Equipment & Personnel: The obvious to have ready – dozers, engines, water tenders and timber fallers.

“Big Iron” Assistance: There may be opportunities to assign a mechanized logging side or specific equipment (feller-buncher, Roto-saw or other) to efficiently and effectively create fuel breaks where topography and forest fuels may warrant is also of interest.